Who burnt Cork City?
An Investigation on the Spot With Full Proofs
PORTION OF PATRICK STREET, CORK, AFTER THE FIRE
Great Britain has no quarrel with Irishmen ; her sole quarrel
is with crime, outrage, and disorder. — Genera/ (Macready,
'December 12, 1920.
It is obviously the interest of the Government to rind the
perpetrators of this outrage. — Sir Hamar Greenwood, < Decembei
We are out for peace, hut there can be no compromise with
murder. — Sir Hiimar Greenwood, 'December 31, 1920.
Published by The Irish Labour Party y Trade Union Congress, Dublin.
Also to be obtained from The Labour Party, 33 Eccleston Square, London, S.W. 1
BOSTON COLLEGE' LIBRA*
NOV 1 7 1988 CHESTNUT HILL, MA02167
WHO BURNT CORK CITY?
CENTRE OF CORK CITY
EXPLANATION OF THE MAP
The map represents the centre of Cork City and includes most of the area
devastated by fire on the night of December 11-12, 1920. The burnings at
Dillon's Cross are not shown. Some of the buildings burnt during some
weeks previous to December 11 are also shown (four Sinn Fein clubs, one
trade union hall, the block marked " 9," &c.) ; but many of these also lie
outside the area covered by the map. It is important to notice the position
of the Police Barracks ; Union Quay close to the City Hall ; Tuckey Street
near the Grand Parade ; the Bridewell near the Coal Quay ; Shandon Street ;
and Empress Place on Summerhill.
1 . National Monument
14. Lee Cinema
2. Berwick Fountain
15. Cash & Co.
5. Hilser, Buckley
18. Scully, Connell & Co., Lee Boot Co.,
6a. Murphy Bros.
Roche's Stores, Wolfe, O'Sullivan
19. Father Matthew Statue
7. Grant & Co.
21. Munster Hotel
9. Cahill, Ryan, American Shoe Co.
22. Pipers' Club
10. Victoria Hotel
23. O'Gorman, Dalton
12. Forrest, Egan, Sunncr, Munster
25. Coliseum Cinema
Arcade, Munster Warehouse
26a. Standard House
13. O'Regan, Dartry Dye Co., Saxone
Shoe Co., Burton, Cudmore,
A TALE OF ARSON,
LOOT, AND MURDER
The Evidence of over Seventy Witnesses
" What justice is there in punishing one
man for offences committed by others over
whom he has no control ? . . . I wonder
how long will humanity stand this attack on
women and children. How long will the
civilised world tolerate it ? The feeling of
the people of Europe may one day become
too strong. If the war is prolonged and
operations of this character continued, we
shall not only suffer the shame of these
transactions, but may have to face the
intervention of armed humanity." — Mr.
Lloyd George, December 16, 1900.
" This is not fair fighting, it is degrading.
The peoplcwho talk of the Empire — why, the
honour of no empire is safe in their keep-
ing ! " — Mr. Lloyd George, January 1,1901.
THE IRISH LABOUR PARTY & TRADE UNION CONGRESS, DUBLIN
PRICE . . . SIXTENCE
I. — The Government and an Inquiry 7
(1) Government Propaganda ... ... ... ... 7
(2) The Challenge 9
(3) The Military Inquiry 10
(4) The Present Investigation ... ... ... ... 12
II.— Who did it? 13
III.— The Evidence ... 20
WHO BURNT CORK CITY ?
I.-THE GOVERNMENT AND AN INQUIRY
(1) Government Propaganda
The policy of the British Government is to give an immediate indignant
denial to the infamous suggestion that any Irish outrages are due to Crown
forces, to insinuate or assert that on the contrary they were done by Irish
" extremists," and meanwhile to refuse every request for an impartial
inquiry on the ground that it would be an aspersion on heroes who fought
in the great war. Vehement denials, righteous indignation, rigid prohibition
of all investigation — these are the highly successful methods whereby the
Coalition Government has largely succeeded in deceiving the English people
and the world concerning the aspirations and sufferings of the Irish nation.
And if perchance the suppressed evidence begins to trickle into publicity,
through a British labour commission or before an American committee, the
Government, hoping that by this time the passionate protests as well as
the ruined towns have smouldered into coldness, will gracefully own up to
just a few general irregularities shorn of all their hideous details. Yes,
the " Black and Tans " did get a little out of hand at Balbriggan. And at
Cork a few Auxiliaries, unidentified, uncensured, unpunished, were a trifle
excited ; but the military and police behaved as guardian angels. Mean-
while, fresh horrors at Dunmanway, Midleton, and elsewhere have happened,
and it is hoped that the public has almost forgotten the sacking of Cork.
The day after the great conflagration, Sir Hamar Greenwood, Chief
Secretary for Ireland, was ready — long practice makes master — with his
denials and counter-assertions. " I protest most vigorously," he said, 1
" against the suggestion, without any evidence, that these fires were started
by the forces of the Crown." Quite so ; in fact the evidence is all the other
way. " My contention is that the forces of the Crown have saved Cork
from destruction," not indeed by refraining from destroying the remainder
of the city, but because " all available policemen and soldiers in Cork were
turned out at once ; and without their assistance the fire brigade could
not have got through the crowds and done the work they tried to do."
The peaceful English Government is always engaged in the beneficent work
of saving and rescuing, but " the protection of life and property will remain
difficult till the Sinn Fein conspiracy is crushed at the source " — wherever
that is. In fact, according to Sir Hamar, it was the Sinn Feiners who,
being short of arguments and superabounding in explosives, burnt their
own city, and did it without a single casualty. "It is obvious to anyone
that a fire of this kind is the only possible argument that is now used
against the Government's policy in Ireland."
In reply to Lt.-Comdr. Kenworthy's question whether two civilians
named Delany were shot, whether the hoses of the fire brigade were cut,
and the fire brigade fired at while extinguishing the fire, Sir Hamar replied,
" There is not an atom of evidence that I know of to that effect. There
is no evidence," he continued, " of hoses being cut or of the forces of the
Crown being responsible for these outrages at all." Apparently not an
ounce of ammunition, nor a gallon of petrol, was missing from the various
Cork barracks !
1 House of Commons, December 18, 1920. In the Daily Chronicle (December 14),
Mr. Lloyd George's organ, these remarks are given under the heading : " Sir H. Greenwood
replies to Sinn Fein charges."
In the official account of the fire, issued in London on the afternoon of
Sunday, December 12, 1920, it is stated that " the fires appear to have
started at Grant's, Cash's, and the Munster Arcade, and extended to other
buildings." In the House of Commons on Tuesday, December 14, Sir Hamar
Greenwood stated categorically that " the City Hall and the Free Library
were not fired, but were burnt down by the spread of the fire which the
local forces and the fire brigade were unable to stop." What the action of
" the local forces " was in the burning of the City Hall will be shown
presently (see Depositions 26 and 27). But meanwhile, a glance at the map
will show the humour of the assertion that the fire " spread " a quarter
of a mile from Patrick Street and over the River Lee into the City Hall.
It is a pity that the Chief Secretary does not know a little more about the
topography of the country he is supposed to rule ; he could then lie more
The Government Press adopted the same tactics. The Daily Chronicle,
in its issue of Monday, December 13, 1920, published a faked map of Cork
City, whereby, in accordance with the official report of the Irish Office, it
was shown how the fire " extended " from Patrick Street to the City Hall.
As this bogus map was never withdrawn, never apologised for, never corrected
by the Daily Chronicle, it is reproduced here so that it may be compared
with the accurate folding map accompanying this pamphlet.
jfl^V^fKsp yi^^j^^ i
And next day (December 14) the Daily Chronicle declared that " until
the [military] inquiry is completed, it is at least premature to assume that
the burnings were reprisals by servants of the Crown. No clear evidence
is forthcoming. The Chief Secretary pointed out that the presumption
from some of the facts was quite Otherwise." And that was all the Daily
Chronicle had to say concerning the sacking of Cork City.
Other papers were more explicit. " It will be represented, no doubt,"
said the Daily Telegraph of December 13, " that this was part of the
campaign of unauthorised reprisals by servants of the Crown, who had
been subjected to murderous attack on the same day. What seems to us
more probable is that this was the reply of the rebel element to the pro-
clamation of martial law on the previous day, and the intimation to the
moderate majority of Sinn Fein Ireland that the ' Irish Republican Army '
will have no peace or any talk of peace. . . . That the chiefs of the terrorist
1 Sir Hamar never apologised for his assertion. On Thursday, December 16, he said
half-apologetically : " The remarks I made in reference to the spread of the flames were
given to me in reports I had received." That merely makes the concoction official.
organisation are capable of such a stroke is not to be denied." And
" Clubman " says, in the Pall Mall Gazette for December 14, 1920 : —
" The Government, I am told, are now in possession of some very
remarkable evidence which seems to justify Sir Hamar Greenwood's emphatic
repudiation of the suggestion that the firing of buildings in Cork on
Saturday night was the work of the forces of the Crown. That some, at
least, of the individuals who took part in the attack on the military lorry
at Dillon's Cross subsequently joined in the work of incendiarism is beyond
It is hard enough on Irishmen to have the heart burnt out of one of
their finest cities ; it is worse to be told that they did it themselves. The
Government which stoops to such methods is not only a bully but a sneak.
(2) The Challenge
There was an immediate universal demand for an impartial civilian
inquiry into this burning of Cork. The Sinn Fein leaders in Cork, as well
as the local Unionists, asked for such an inquiry. The Parliamentary
Labour Party offered to prove before such an inquiry that " the fires were
the work of Crown forces." Every party was anxious for the fullest possible
investigation — except the Government. Which is significant. The following
resolutions, which were a direct request and challenge to the British
Government, deserve to be placed on record : —
A. — Telegram sent by Lord Mayor O'Callaghan, Messrs. Walsh, M.P., and
De Roiste, M.P., to Sir H. Greenwood, Lord R. Cecil, Messrs. Asquith,
Henderson, Adamson, and Kenworthy (December 14, 1920) : —
" On behalf of the whole citizens, we absolutely and most emphatically
repudiate the vile suggestion that Cork City was burned by any section of
the citizens. In the name of truth, justice, and civilisation, we demand an
impartial civilian inquiry into the circumstances of the city's destruction.
" We are quite willing to submit evidence before any international tribunal*
or even a tribunal of Englishmen like Bentinck, Henderson, Kenworthy, and
B. — Telegram sent by British Labour Commission in Ireland to Parlia-
mentary Labour Party, adopted by that party and transmitted to the Prime
Minister (Tuesday, December 14, 1920) : —
" The statements made by the Chief Secretary in the House of Commons
confirming the burning of Cork are greatly inaccurate. The Parliamentary
members of the Labour Commission who visited Cork yesterday are convinced
that the fires were the work of Crown forces. The suggestion that the fire
spread from Patrick Street across the river to the City Hall, a distance of
several hundred yards, cannot be entertained by anyone knowing the
topography of Cork.
" We stand by our statements regarding fires in Cork, and can, if safety
of witnesses is guaranteed, produce reliable evidence on the subject. We,
therefore, demand independent inquiries into recent incidents in Cork. If
the Government refuse the British public will form its own conclusions."
C. — Resolution unanimously adopted by Cork Employers' Federation
(Unionist capitalists) at a special meeting held on Tuesday, December 14,
" We, the Cork Employers' Federation, call the attention of the Govern-
ment to the terrible condition of things which occurred on last Saturday
night and Sunday morning in Cork, by which life was lost, an enormous
amount of valuable property destroyed, thousands of persons thrown out of
employment, large numbers rendered homeless, and the inhabitants generally
kept in a state of abject terror. We demand an immediate and searching
inquiry into the circumstances by an impartial tribunal. Copies of the
resolution to be sent to his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the
Prime Minister, and the Chief Secretary for Ireland."
D. — Telegram sent by the Cork Incorporated Chamber of Commerce and
Shipping (practically consisting of Unionist capitalists) to the Chief Secretary,
November 29, 1920 : —
" Council of Chamber desire to draw attention of Chief Secretary to
number of incendiary fires occurring in Cork, more especially within the last
few days, resulting in enormous destruction of property ; and request
immediate steps for protection of citizens' property."
Second resolution passed unanimously at a special meeting on December
15, 1920, and telegraphed to the Chief Secretary : —
" The Cork Incorporated Chamber of Commerce and Shipping express
their astonishment at the statements made by you in the House of Commons
with reference to the destruction in Cork. We demand that, as Chief
Secretary, you make personal investigation on the spot of the true facts,
when incontrovertible evidence will be placed before you, and that a Judicial
Commission of Inquiry be set up without delay. We claim that all damage
be made good out of Government funds.
" The Chamber beg to draw your attention to the fact that on November
29 they wired you with reference to incendiary fires occurring in Cork, and
requested immediate protection for citizens' property, to which telegram no
reply was made by you."
E. — Resolution adopted unanimously by Cork Harbour Board, Wednesday,
December 15, 1920. (This was proposed by Mr. B. Haughton, a leading
business man, Unionist and Protestant.)
" This board begs to convey to the citizens, who have suffered so cruelly
in the recent terrible deeds of incendiarism, the expression of their heartfelt
sympathy in the severe losses sustained.
" This board strongly supports the joint demand of the Lord Mayor and
the two representatives for the City that an impartial civilian inquiry be at
once held into the whole matter."
F. — The Cork Constitution (local Unionist organ), December 16, 1920 : —
" The demand for a satisfying inquiry is becoming irresistible, and should
it not be forthcoming the public will naturally draw conclusions by no means
complimentary to the Administration."
(3) The Military Inquiry
The British Government absolutely refused to allow any judicial civilian
inquirjr into the Cork outrages. " The best inquiry and the most impartial,"
declared Sir Hamar Greenwood in the House of Commons (Monday, December
13, 1920), " will be that made by the General Officer Commanding on the
spot." " In the present condition of Ireland," said Mr. Bonar Law (December
21, 1920), " we are much more likely to get an impartial inquiry in a military
court than in any other." That is, the most impartial investigation will be
conducted by the defendants themselves, by the very persons whom thousands
of men and women in Cork wish to charge and incriminate. " It is obviously
the interest of the Government," said Sir Hamar Greenwood virtuously
(December 13, 1920), " to find the perpetrators of this outrage." Hence, in
order to discover the perpetrators, the Government handed the inquiry over
to those who were publicly accused of being the perpetrators, and are here
proved to have been so. The military were asked to hold an inquiry into
their own conduct.
The official announcement of this military inquiry was issued by General
Strickland on Thursday, December 16, fixing the date for Saturday, December
18. On the same day, Mr. Maurice Healy, ex-M.P., solicitor, formally applied,
on behalf of the Cork Incorporated Chamber of Shipping and Commerce and
of the Cork Employers' Federation, to be allowed to be present at the inquiry
and to offer evidence. Next day (Friday, December 17), Mr. Healy was
informed by the military " that lawyers would not be admitted to the inquiry,
that the inquiry was private, and that any witnesses sent up would only be
admitted one by one and examined." On December 17 and again on December
20, Mr. Healy wrote to the military asking for a written confirmation or
repudiation of this refusal to allow Cork business men to present evidence
and to be professionally represented. The reply came finally on December
21 : " As the court of inquiry has now closed, your question does not arise. —
General, Cork." x Thus this inquiry was closed before it was opened.
The only civilian witness who is known to have been examined is Alderman
Liam de Roiste, M.P., who was arrested for the purpose on December 20.
The Alderman declined to recognise the inquiry, and in any case was known
to have no evidence to give ; so he was released. One other civilian was
asked to attend, not to give evidence, but to estimate the total damage. On
Friday, December 17, 1920, the city engineer received a telegram from the
Commanding Officer, Cork barracks, asking him to appear before the military
inquiry. The telegram was submitted to the Cork Corporation, and the
following reply was sent : —
" We have instructed the city engineer and other corporate officials to
take no part in the English military inquiry into the burning of this city,
with which we charge the English military and police forces before the whole
world. We adhere to the offer made by the City Members and the Lord
Mayor to submit evidence already in our possession before an impartial
international tribunal or before a court of fair-minded Englishmen."
Up to the time of compilation of this pamphlet, the report of this two-
day inquiry, without witnesses, had not been published ; it is not certain
if it will ever be published. " The Chief Secretary," said Mr. Bonar Law
(December 21, 1920), " has promised to carefully consider whether he could
safely allow the Strickland report, when it is received, to be published.
The Government cannot go further than that."
The military know right well who burnt Cork. What they do not know
is how much evidence of their guilt has been collected and is in the possession
of, say, Cork Corporation or the British Labour Commission. But they
suspect. They can hardly hope this time to conceal all proof and terrorise
the people into absolute silence. It is therefore probable that they will
own up to just a little — perhaps make scapegoats of a few Auxiliaries and
completely exonerate the military and police.
The report, however, is of no evidential or judicial value ; it is merely
a measure of how much, under pressure of public opinion and through fear
of " unauthorised " disclosures, the Government — that is, the defendant —
is prepared to confess. What would be of more interest to the public would
be the answers to these questions : —
(a) How many casualties occurred among the forces of the Crown during
the burning and looting of Cork ? 2
(b) How much petrol and ammunition was taken that night from the
various barracks in the city ? 3
1 This correspondence is published in full in the Cork Examiner for December 22, 1920.
2 There is evidence as to several casualties (due to quarrelling, drunkenness, &c.)
3 There is evidence that 300 gallons of petrol were taken out of Victoria Barracks
(c) Were the barracks at Union Quay and Empress Place and the
Bridewell officially searched next day for loot ? If so, why was it not
restored to its owners ?
The Government have often indulged in pharisaical claptrap concerning
the impartiality of their own courts when inquiring into their own sins.
And this perfectly monstrous proposition, which is tantamount to the assertion
of the divine right of politicians to be absolutest despots, immune from
criticism and censure, this immoral despotism is proclaimed with such an
air of self-righteous virtue that it has almost come to be regarded as a
truism — at least, when it concerns the mere Irish. Military inquiries are
common in Ireland ; in fact they have superseded everything else. Every
offence, from the possession of a " seditious " newspaper to the burning
and looting of a city, is tried by court martial ; that is when there is any
trial at all, which is very seldom. In particular, coroner's inquests have
been abolished over most of Ireland ; instead, there is a military inquiry.
Two instances of such inquiries are included in this booklet. One of them
may be referred to here. The reader is asked to turn to the last deposition
(No. 66) in the chapter on evidence (page 68). He will there find a sworn
statement (which can be corroborated by further evidence) showing that
the military inquiry into the death of Mr. James Coleman, a respected
business gentleman of Cork City, not only violated the pledge of publicity
given to the widow, but deliberately suppressed the evidence and brought
in a false verdict. This is a strong statement to make against a military
inquiry. Read Deposition No. 66, which is only portion of the evidence
available in this case, and you will cease to wonder why Irishmen refuse to
recognise these military tribunals, and perhaps also why the Government
appeals to them so confidently.
(4) The Present Investigation
Since the burning and looting of Cork, a quiet and, under the circumstances,
rather dangerous and toilsome investigation has been proceeding. Nearly
a hundred depositions have been taken. The evidence is, of course, far
from complete ; it is only a tithe of what would be available if a proper
civilian inquiry were set up. But such as it is, it is sufficiently explicit
and startling to justify immediate publication. The statements and
depositions are, therefore, given here in full, with such small omissions as
were necessary in order to conceal the witnesses' names and identity. The
witnesses consist chiefly of responsible commercial or professional men and
householders ; some are English and some are Americans ; several are
ex-officers or ex-soldiers. In every case a signed and witnessed original is
filed and deposited in a place of comparative safety. These originals will
be produced for any competent and responsible commission of inquiry.
And were such an inquiry established, hundreds of persons who, in the
prevailing state of lawless terrorism, dare not sign any evidence against the
military and police would be prepared to come forward and give evidence.
But the evidence here presented is, as far as it goes, absolutely conclusive.
Its collection and publication is a public service. " It is obviously the
interest of the Government," declared Sir Hamar Greenwood (December 13,
1920), " to find the perpetrators of this outrage." If so, then this investiga-
tion is in the interest of the Government, for it has certainly succeeded in
finding the perpetrators of the outrage. And the Daily Telegraph
(December 14, 1920) tells us that " it is certainly the interest, not only of
the Government but of us all, that an outrage of this magnitude, the noise
of which has already travelled round the world, should not remain in the
category of crimes as to the authorship of which there is no evidence."
A perusal of the evidence here submitted will leave little doubt as to the
authorship of the crime.
II.— WHO DID IT?
[References are to the number and paragraph of the depositions and statements
given under " Evidence."]
That outrages similar to the sacking of Cork have been previously com-
mitted by the Crown forces in Ireland is admitted by everyone except Sir
Hamar Greenwood. One of the latest and most competent of investigators
is General Sir Henry Lawson, envoy of the Peace-with-Ireland Council, who
on December 31, 1920, reported thus : —
" It would probably have been impossible, had I tried, to find out to
what extent the policy of collective reprisals, so widely carried out by certain
sections of the Forces, was suggested and approved from above. That it
received something more than tacit approval was obvious from many public
utterances ; but the policy has never received publicly expressed official
approval despite its extensive practice. . . Their point of view seems to be
that of forces operating in an enemy country against guerilla warfare, very
much like the Germans in France in 1870 and in Belgium in 1914."
Several official orders against these so-called reprisals were issued, but so
far have proved of no avail ; whether because the Auxiliaries are uncontrol-
lable or because these orders are not seriously meant is not certain. On
August 17, 1920, General Macready issued the following special order 1 : —
" It has been inferred that soldiers indulge in acts of retaliation on the
civil population as a whole for acts committed against them, as distinct from
defending themselves when threatened or attacked.
" Such action would reflect the utmost discredit on the army, and would
indicate a lapse from discipline which, if committed on active service, renders
the offenders liable to a death sentence. . . .
" I, therefore, look to all officers to ensure that there will not be the least
grounds for allegations of looting or retaliation. And, though confident that
these orders will be rigidly adhered to, must point out that any dereliction
would be met by the severest disciplinary measures.
" The above remarks of the Commander-in-Chief will be read to all units
on parade and kept posted on the unit order board."
And again, after the burning and looting of Cork, on the very day the
military inquiry was sitting, General Macready issued a further order against
murder, arson, and robbery on the part of military and police (December 18,
" All forces of the Crown are hereby warned against the commission of
the following offences, namely : —
" (1) Committing any offence against the person or property of an
inhabitant of or resident in this country, or
" (2) Breaking into any house or other place in search of plunder, or
" (3) Forcing a sentry on duty for the protection of some person or
" (4) Forcing or striking a soldier when acting as sentinel.
" Any person subject to military or martial law who commits any of the
above offences will, on conviction by a court martial or military court, be
liable to suffer death."
Of even more interest is the appeal to the police to stop incendiarism
issued privately by General Tudor, Police Adviser, Dublin Castle, December
6, 1920, just a week before the burning of Cork : —
" There have been recently a large number of reports of arson. Whilst
by no means clear that this is done by the forces of the Crown, I wish again
1 Yet a month later (September 26) he gave an interview to the representative of the
Associated Press of America, in the course of which he said : " It is only human that they
should act on their own initiative. Punishment for such acts is a delicate matter."
to impress on all members of the police force the absolute necessity of stopping
burnings, whatever the provocation.
" The only justifiable burnings are the destruction of buildings which have
been used to shelter ambushers or from which fire is opened on forces of the Crown.
Burnings of houses or buildings not directly connected with assassination is
" I appeal to the police of all ranks to suppress all destruction of property
in Ireland, even of notorious Sinn Feiners."
Being clearly unable by orders and appeals to stop the excesses of the
police and military, which they had encouraged up to a certain point, the
Government have now decided on " official " reprisals, which were inaugu-
rated on New Year's Day at Midleton. " It was decided by the military
governor that certain houses in the vicinity of the outrages were to be
destroyed, as the inhabitants were bound to have known of the ambush and
attack, and neglected to give any information either to the military or police
authorities." No investigation as to whether these people did know anything
beforehand, no investigation as to whether they could have reached the
English forces without being shot by the Irish ; apart altogether from the
question of the morality of penalising people for not acting as spies on behalf
of a Government which is guilty of such damnable tyranny. And finally, as
General Tudor put it, " the only justifiable burnings are the destruction of
buildings which have been used to shelter ambushers."
A Government which can do such deeds ought not to boggle at the burning
of Cork. Perhaps the burning was only a reprisal (slightly unofficial) on a
city which was " bound " to know about the ambush at Dillon's Cross ?
Yet Sir Hamar Greenwood declared (December 13) that " the fires in the
centre of the city had nothing to do with the attack on the military division
half a mile away." And, in a sense, he is right, for there is not the smallest
evidence that there was any such ambush. Here is the official account issued
from the Irish Office, London 1 : —
" Twelve cadets were wounded, and one has since died of wounds. Bombs
are believed to have been thrown from houses at Dillon's Cross, in the north
district of Cork, into lorries containing cadets, as they were leaving Cork
military barracks. And it is suggested that the bombs used were supplied to
the assailants from the bomb factory which was discovered in Dublin, and in
connection with which four men have been arrested. The ambush took place
at 8 p.m. ... So far as can be ascertained, the attackers of the ambushed
The main point, apart from beliefs and suggestions, is that the attackers
were not seen and the attack took place quite close to the military barracks.
One of the Auxiliaries thus describes the attack : " The party had not got
100 yards from barracks when bombs were thrown at them from over a wall "
(50 C). And that is all the Auxiliaries can say of the attack.
Curiously enough, several witnesses bear testimony to the fact that Crown
forces, especially Auxiliaries and military, fired at one another and quarrelled
in the city that same evening. A student held up near Patrick's Bridge saw
two parties of Crown forces in conflict at 9.30 p.m. : " I saw them firing at
one another, and I saw a bomb hurled by the men in Bridge Street at the
men on the bridge. I saw the bomb explode ; I did not see the result "
(10 C). Later on, half-a-dozen Auxiliaries fired at a fireman and three
soldiers, hitting a soldier in the leg (18 B). On another occasion " Black
and Tans " fired on another fireman with a military escort, and. again wounded
a soldier (23). Obviously there are other possibilities of attackers besides
Volunteers, especially within a hundred yards of the military barracks.
Long before the attack came off (about 8 p.m.), it was known that there
was going to be trouble in the city. " About five-thirty that evening," says
1 Reproduced in the Cork Examiner, December 13, 1920.
a witness (11 A), " I was reading in a library in the city, when a friend — a
Protestant Unionist — came up to me and told me to go home at once, as he
was told there was to be bad work that night." And, as a matter of fact,
the indiscriminate firing in the streets began before 8 p.m. (41 A). And these
earliest assailants were " Black and Tans," not Auxiliaries. The attack or
ambush at Dillon's Cross, while it may have intensified the Auxiliaries' spirit
of loot and destruction, has really no essential connection with the sacking
This view is confirmed by the British Labour Commission, who say in
their report (December 28, 1920) :—
" The Commission was impressed by the sense of impending disaster
which overhung the city of Cork during the time it was staying there. This
uncertainty was ended by the tragic occurrences of Saturday, December 11,
when the Regent Street of Cork was destroyed by incendiaries. . . . We
are of opinion that the incendiarism in Cork on December 11 was not a
reprisal for the ambush which took place on the same date at Dillon's Cross.
The fires appear to have been an organised attempt to destroy the most
valuable premises in the city, and we do not think that the arrangements
could have been carried out if they had been hastily made after the
unfortunate occurrence at Dillon's Cross."
Some details concerning the sack itself may be here collected and
summarised from the evidence which is given in extenso in the next section.
(1) The Actual Incendiaries
Auxiliaries set fire to a tramcar (47 B, 11 E, 28 A), which was cheered
by a passing lorry of military (29 B).
Cash's was burnt by police and Auxiliaries (42 F, 39 E), who afterwards
danced and fired revolver shots outside it (47 D, 14 E).
The Munster Arcade was set on fire by police under the command of a
military officer (45, also 40 C, 41, 44 B, 14 D).
" Black and Tans " burnt Roche's Stores (23).
Police attempted to set fire to the premises of Murphy Bros., and very
nearly set fire to St. Augustine's Priory and Church (57, 58, and 59).
The City Hall and Library, which is quite close to Union Quay Barracks,
was burnt by police, one of whom left his cap behind (26, 27).
An attempt was made to burn Jennings's by men in uniform and in
civilian attire (56 A).
" Take your time, you'll have a few more [fires] in a minute " (14 A).
" We did it all right, never mind how much the well-intentioned Hamar
Greenwood would excuse us " (50 A).
(2) Attacks on Firemen, &c.
The military refused the use of their fire appliances (13 F, 17 A).
The hose at the G.P.O. was cut (13 C), by bayonets in the opinion of the
Thirty policemen, including a head constable and three sergeants, kept
turning off the water from the hose which was being played on the Library
The ambulance was fired at (15 C).
Police fired at a fireman (16 C). Police and Auxiliaries fired at two
firemen (17 B, 18 A). Auxiliaries fired at a fireman (18 B). A fireman
was wounded by a bullet in close proximity to military and police (19).
A drunken officer fired at a fireman (20). Other firemen were also fired
upon by Crown forces (21 A, 23, 24).
Civilian helpers were fired at, molested, threatened by police and
Auxiliaries (41 D, 42, 37 A, 38 A, 49 C). A policeman shouted to a hose
worker : " At your peril, don't turn the hose on that fire ; let it blaze "
(3) The Looters
Uniformed looters were seen emerging laden from Cash's (47 D, 29 E).
An Auxiliary told an ex-officer that " as Cash's had been so badly looted
they were going to set it on fire in order to cover up the loot " (28 H).
Police and military looted Mangan's (29 C, 28 D E, compare 30) and
Hilser's (52, 53, 54, 56), and Murphy Bros. (57, 58), besides several public-
houses (39 I, &c). Crowds of Auxiliaries and police were seen taking the
loot to Empress Place Barracks (31 E) and Union Quay Barracks (43, 44 A,
45 J). 1 Soldiers and " Black and Tans " looted Tyler's boot shop (39 H,
43 J, 26 E).
In view of the above extensive looting of silverware, jewellery, drapery,
and drink from the finest business houses of Cork, by military, police, and
Auxiliaries— not to speak of wholesale robberies for weeks previous — the
humour of the following notice will be appreciated : —
Safeguarding of Property
Whereas evilly-disposed persons, stating that they are acting by order
of the Irish Republic, have raided post offices and private houses and held
up individuals for the purpose of obtaining money and arms for the rebels
(commonly styled the I.R.A.), and whereas these persons have, in many
cases, stolen silver, jewellery, valuables, wine, spirits, and other goods, the
public are advised to store in security all articles of value which can be
easily removed or consumed.
His Majesty's Government cannot undertake the storage of any articles.
(Signed) H. W. HIGGINSON,
Cork, 31.12.20. Brigadier General, Military Governor, Cork.
All the witnesses are agreed that by 9.30 on Saturday evening,
December 11, the streets of Cork were deserted by civilians. This was
due to the firing and bullying of the Crown forces. It is important, however,
to understand that, even apart from such firing, the streets of Cork are
deserted at 10 p.m., and the city remains in complete control of the military,
who career around in patrols and lorries and arrest all civilians, until 3 a.m.
or later. It was in order to protect the lives and property of Irish citizens
that this curfew order was introduced. And it is precisely during this time
that most murders and arsons are committed. It was while the military
had sole and complete charge of the streets, while no civilian might be
abroad without a permit, that Cork City was burnt and looted. This alone
is enough to decide the authorship of the fires.
To make this point clear it is advisable to quote in full the curfew order
issued by General Strickland on July 20, 1920, which is still in force in
" I do hereby order and require every person within the area specified
in the schedule hereto to remain within doors between the hours of
10 o'clock p.m. and 3 o'clock a.m., unless provided with a permit in writing
from the competent military authority or some person duly authorised by
" Schedule. — All the area within a radius of three miles of the General
Post Office, Pembroke Street, in the city of Cork. . . .
" Permits will be granted to clergymen, registered medical practitioners,
and nurses engaged on urgent duties. Permits will not be granted to other
persons save in cases of absolute necessity. . . .
1 Depositions have since been taken testifying to the fact that the Sinn Fein Police
saved hundreds of pounds' worth of goods at Daly's (Caroline Street), O'SuIlivan's (Patrick
" Every person abroad between the hours mentioned in the foregoing
order, when challenged by any policeman, or by an officer, N.C.O., or soldier
on duty, must immediately halt and obey the orders given to him ; and if
he fails to do so, it will be at his own peril."
So far from firing on or arresting the looters and incendiaries, the officers
and soldiers on duty in the curfew lorries encouraged the work of plunder
and destruction. Sometimes the looters dodged the lorries (52 D, 53 B),
but indeed they had not much to fear. An officer got out of the lorry and
addressed a few friendly words to the looters near Hilser's (52 H). The
curfew troops in a passing lorry cheered the looters at Mangan's (45 B),
and yelled with delight at the burning tram (29 B). Also, while the Arcade
and Cash's were being looted and burnt, " military came along in a lorry,
halted, and shouted to the looters, ' That's the stuff to give them, pour it
on ' " (46 B, 47 E). One officer in charge of a patrol made a feeble effort
to stop the looting at Mangan's, but his position was humiliating ; he was
almost afraid to give his men an order, and the looters paid no attention to
the soldiers (29 F G).
As the military issue a daily bulletin or curfew report, it was a delicate
problem to frame a report suitable for this particular night. " What report
are we going to make about to-night ? " a responsible military curfew officer
was overheard (by 37 E) saying to the head of the rioting Auxiliaries.
" There and then the two of them made up an ordinary curfew report, to
the effect that the Crown forces had found buildings burning, that the fire
brigade had been telephoned for, and that the curfew troops stood by to
render what assistance they could." Quite an interesting sidelight into
the methods of a military inquiry. The military, be it noted, were bound
to inquire on the spot into the fire while it was going on, for they had
forcibly seized the city and ejected the citizens from control. Here then
is the report of the first military inquiry into the Cork burnings : —
Official military report on the state of Cork City for the period from
10 p.m. on Saturday, December 11, 1920, to 5.30 a.m. on Sunday, December 12,
1920, during which period the city was in complete control of the military.
" (1) Three arrests were made.
" (2) At 22.00 hours, Grant & Co., in Patrick Street, was found to be on
fire. Warning was at once sent to all fire brigades.
" (3) At about 00.30 hours, Cash & Co. and the Munster Arcade were
reported on fire.
" (4) At 05.30 hours the majority of the troops were withdrawn, and the
remainder at 08.00 hours.
" (5) Explosions were heard at 00.15 hours, but were not located. No
shots were fired by the troops.
F. R. EASTWOOD, Major,
Brigade Major, 17th Infantry Brigade.
The soldiers as a whole gave little or no help (47 G), though individual
soldiers helped people to remove furniture (36 E) and also assisted the firemen
(14 F, 38 B). But there was not much discipline. Soldiers looted with the
police (30 C D). One witness " saw a soldier in uniform and trench helmet,
with rifle," " showing some girls articles of jewellery . . . and also two
bottles of wine " which he had purloined (41 E). Soldiers in full uniform
looted John Daly and Co., wine merchants, emerging drunk and with armfuls
of bottles (41 F). A soldier on duty smashed Tyler's window with the butt-
end of his rifle and took away a number of pairs of boots (39 H). A drunken
young soldier on duty was showing his rifle to a youngster, and for mere
bravado had a shot at the first civilian he saw (39 L). Under the influence
of drink the military were seen " quarrelling and fighting between themselves,
and one actually attacked his officer " (49 B). Not much of the traditional
discipline of the British army can survive a campaign in Ireland.
(6) Martial Law
All this, be it noted, occurred under martial law, which was proclaimed on
Friday, December 10, 1920. In this official proclamation it is stated that
Cork County and City, Limerick County and City, County Tipperary, and
County Kerry " are, and until further order shall continue to be, under and sub-
ject to martial law." " Martial law," says Sir Hamar Greenwood (December 13,
1920), " does not mean any careless use of power, but it does mean the
earnest discipline of the forces of the Crown and the quickest possible retri-
bution to all criminals." " If any member of his Majesty's forces is found
guilty of arson, he will come under martial law at once." Still no one was
punished, not even censured, for burning Cork. 1
(7) Police and Auxiliaries
Incredible though it may appear, a few Auxiliaries and " Black and Tans "
actually helped in combating their comrades' fires (41 D, 37 C, 38 B). The
" Black and Tans " gave some civilians a friendly tip " to get home quickly
as the Auxiliaries were in bad humour " (40 H). On the other hand, the
Auxiliaries blamed the " Black and Tans " for their shameless looting (43 K).
The old R.I.C. seem to have behaved pretty well, helping the firemen
(14 F) and warning people in danger (52 B) ; and early on the Sunday morning
they cleared the " Black and Tans " off Patrick Street (46 D). But some of
them joined the loot-gangs (44 B), got drunk, and bullied women refugees
(49 B) ; others acted as guides to the incendiaries and looters (45 G).
The Auxiliaries were, of course, the leaders in destruction and looting, and
made no secret of it (38 C). " They all seemed to be of the opinion that the
city deserved its fate, and only treated the whole affair as a joke. One of
them remarked that the thing was carried too far, and, to use his own words,
said ' there would be hell to pay over it ' " (37 D). He was unnecessarily
nervous, however, for nothing happened. The Auxiliary Division (K Company)
was removed from the city without a stain on its character. " It is true,"
said Mr. Denis Henry (December 14, 1920), " that the Auxiliary police have
been removed from Cork City to the West Cork District ; but I am informed
by General Headquarters that there is no foundation for' the suggestion that
the military authorities had expressed any censure upon their conduct in
It was a member of the same Auxiliaries who wrote on December 16 :
" In all my life and in all the tales of fiction I have read I have never experi-
enced such orgies of murder, arson, and looting as I have witnessed during
the past sixteen days with the R.I.C. Auxiliaries. It baffles description.
And we are supposed to be ex-officers and gentlemen ! " (50 A). And why
are such murderous incendiaries not censured ? Perhaps because they are
a convenient instrument for torturing the Irish people. And even when
these gentlemen go a little too far and give the show away — well, even General
Higginson, who talks so strong in his proclamations to mere rebels, abandoned
the little sermon which he went specially down to Dunmanway to preach to
1 Attempted denial by the Government Press that the fire occurred under martial
law : —
A. — Martial law came into force on Friday, December 10.
" Last night it was announced from Dublin that martial law had been proclaimed in
the City and County of Cork, City and County of Limerick, County of Tipperary, County
of Kerry." — Daily Chronicle, Saturday, December 11 (before the fire).
B. — Martial law only came into force on Monday, December 13.
" Martial law comes into force to-day in the proclaimed counties in the south-west,
including Cork City." — Daily Chronicle, Monday, December 13 (after the fire).
his Auxiliary flock ; they " struck terror into him " (50 F). So he returned
to Cork and issued a brand-new proclamation against arson and looting — by
(8) Officers and Leaders
The houses were not fired and looted at random ,* they were picked out
(30 A). An Auxiliary shouted to the " Black and Tans " who were looting
Mangan's : " You are in the wrong shop, that man is a loyalist." " They
replied that they didn't give a damn as that ivas the shop that had been pointed
out to them." The men were evidently guided to a definite house, and on
reaching it there was a shout " This is it " (39 A) or " Come along, lads, here
we are " (56 A).
There were sharp words of command at Cash's (42 F), a military officer
led the police-petrollers into the Munster Arcade (45 F H), an Auxiliary
officer led a charge on a public-house (39 BD), an officer headed a party of
window-smashers through Marlboro' Street (48), a military officer joined in
the loot at Murphy's (58 B). Officers were concerned even in outrages
(4 A, 8 C). No wonder that there were " no officers at all " in, about 10.30 p.m.,
in one mess (28 B ; compare 32 D, 33 C).
The only instance of an officer behaving as such is the stoppage of the
fire at Jennings's (56 C), owing to its proximity to the police barracks.
(9) " Civilians "
A good number of Crown forces were in mufti. Whenever there was a
crowd of Crown forces looting or burning, some were sure to be in civilian or
semi-civilian garb (46 A, 14 A, 15 A, 16 A). Often the leader of a uniformed
party was in mufti (28 C, 43 C D, 9 B). Some of these " civilians " went to
the Bridewell to get into uniform, or at least to get their uniform hats, " so
that they wouldn't be shot in mistake for civilians by some other party "
Drunkenness, especially as the night wore on, was a general characteristic
of the Crown forces. Police and military were drunk (41 D), soldiers were
drunk on duty (43 L) ; they were drunk even shortly after nine on Saturday
evening (12 A, 10 B, 11, 28 A). The forces broke into public-houses and
looted drink (39 A, 40 B, 46 C, 49 B, 41 F). We have a complete picture of
a drunken sergeant, who wanted to shoot everyone who couldn't sing (32 D,
33 D, 35 C, 36 B). He was an Irishman. But a foreign accent, English or
Scotch, was far more universal (14 B, 36 C, 39 E, 43 G, 46 C, &c).
(11) Outrages and Murders
Two statements (1 and 2) deal with the public horse-whipping of all men-
pedestrians in Patrick Street on December 7. No. 3 deals with a typical
case of robbery and intimidation which took place on the same day. There
is always a sinister combination of violence on political grounds and dexterous
robbery. The roving Auxiliary, even when intent on murder, has an eye to
business. Were you in the war ? Were you in the ambush ? Are you a
Sinn Feiner ? Such-like questions are usually the prelude to a good kicking ;
they are also the prologue to the disappearance of your watch and purse.
(See instances in 4 H, 8 C.) Even in a systematic search for a City Alderman
— a peaceful business man whom they wished to murder — the Auxiliaries
were on the lookout for cash (5 and 6).
Shortly after 9 p.m. on Saturday evening, December 11, the Auxiliaries
held up pedestrians, used filthy language, ill-treated men, and even women
and priests, kicked people round, told them to run and then fired shots after
them (9, 10, 11, 47 A).
At least two murders were committed that night. Two young brothers,
called Delany, were brutally shot in the presence of their aged father ; one
died instantly, his sister holding the crucifix to his lips ; the other succumbed
in hospital a week later ; their uncle, over sixty years of age, was also wounded,
but recovered. Some depositions concerning this case are given under Nos.
60-66. The following particulars are therein established : —
(1) The murderers were accompanied by a motor lorry.
(2) They had strong English accents.
(3) The father was asked if he was a Sinn Feiner.
(4) The actual murderer who fired the fatal shots wore a military uniform-
(5) They refused to allow a sister to go for a priest.
(6) When one of the party was told that the victims were dead, he said,
" We may get £40 or £50 out of this."
There are no coroner's inquests allowed in Cork ; they might be incon-
venient. So a military inquiry was held on the death of Cornelius Delany.
The relatives naturally refused to have anything to do with a court where
the culprits were judges. The verdict was published on December 31, and
is as follows : —
" The court found that death was due to peritonitis following a gunshot
wound in the abdomen, and that the bullet which caused the wound was fired
by some person unknown."
That is always the verdict of every military inquiry in Ireland. The
Athenians long ago erected a temple to the Unknown God. The British
military and police should erect an obelisk in the ruins of Patrick Street,
dedicated to the unknown person who has committed so many arsons,
robberies, and murders in our midst. Or perhaps if they withdrew across
the Channel, that unknown person might be found to have also flown ; for
surely he has an English accent and wears a British uniform.
III.— THE EVIDENCE
Some of the depositions and statements taken are given here. In every
case they are given in full without omission or alteration, except for the
omission of certain names, &c. The originals, signed and witnessed, are
safely stored and are available for the inspection of any accredited and
responsible investigators or for the purpose of a civilian inquiry. The pre-
sent investigation has been attended by obvious dangers and difficulties, and
is, of course, very incomplete ; even since the collection and arrangement of
the evidence here given, much fresh evidence has been obtained.
For convenience of reference each statement has been divided into para-
graphs A, B, C, &c. The statements are arranged roughly according to the
similarity or connection of their subject-matter. It must not be inferred
from the collocation or juxtaposition of two depositions that the two wit-
nesses were known to each other, except in those cases where the witnesses
form a group (e.g., firemen, officers of an American vessel) or formally
corroborate. As far as possible the witnesses sought were men and women
o* independence and standing and without bias in favour of Sinn Fein : ex-
officers, ex-service men, Americans, Englishmen, Unionists, substantial busi-
ness men, professional gentlemen. Needless to say, in the prevailing state
of terrorism many refused to give evidence, but nearly all were prepared to
do so before a public authorised civilian inquiry.
A few depositions referring to outrages prior to the incendiarism of
December 11-12 are also included, for the purpose of proving some particular
subsidiary points. They will help readers to picture more vividly the
''atmosphere" of a town under brutal military oppression. But it was eon
sidered unnecessary to include many of such statements, as the British
Labour Commission which recently visited Cork is in possession of full
information concerning these occurrences.
Auxiliaries Flog Passers-by in Patrick Street, December 7, 1920
I, Margaret , do make the following statement voluntarily and do
solemnly affirm that it is the truth, to the best of my knowledge and ability.
About 4.30 p.m., December 7, 1920, while shopping in Patrick Street, and
passing by Cash's, I saw about four Auxiliaries standing in a group outside
Cash's. They wore Glengarry caps, khaki uniforms, and carried revolvers^
I saw one of them cross over to a jarvey, who was waiting on the
"stand" with horse and car for hire, and take his driving whip. He moved
off through Patrick Street in the direction of the Examiner office. For safety
I moved down Robert Street. I saw people running in all directions from
the direction of the Examiner office and the Auxiliary running after them,
whipping many of them all the time.
Auxiliaries Flog Passers-by in Patrick Street, December 7, 1920
(The Victoria Hotel is No. 10 in the map. The lower portion of Robert Street is
called Morgan Street.)
I, the undersigned, do make the following statement voluntarily, and do
solemnly affirm on oath that same is true, to the best of my knowledge and
On December 7, 1920, I was working in Patrick Street, opposite the
Munster Arcade. From 2.30 p.m. to 4.30 p.m. I saw three Auxiliaries, one
tall and two small, in khaki uniform and tam-o'-shanter caps, with jarvey
whips in their hands and revolvers in their hosters.
I saw them continually for the whole two hours beating indiscriminately
every male that came within reach of their whips, as they walked to and fro
between Patrick's Bridge and where I was working.
I saw one of them severely whipping a middle-aged man, from Morgan
Street to Victoria Hotel, a distance of about 100 yards. The man turned
around to the Auxiliary and protested, but the answer to this was, "Get on,
you Irish swine," repeating it several times. I dodged them on several occa-
sions and escaped.
During the two hours that this continued, the patience and restraint of
the people was wonderful under such humiliating provocation ; and women
and children fled panic-stricken and terrified with every rush the Auxiliaries
Robbery and Violence (December 7, 1920)
I, Mary , of — Thomas Davis Street, Cork, do solemnly declare and
affirm that the following statement is true to the best of my knowledge and
I remember the night of December 7. 1920. At about 7.30 p.m. three men
entered the premises (licensed), one who appeared to be in charge was a tall
man wearing a trench coat, tam-o'-shanter cap, buff coloured scarf half
hiding his face which was whitened as if with flour or powder. He said,
"Who is the owner of this house?" I said, " ." He said, "Where is
he ?" I answered, "It is a lady." He then kicked in the kitchen door and
saw my aunt, Miss . He came back to me and placed his revolver and
flash-lamp on the counter, and said, "The next policeman that is killed here,
take warning and clear out." This man was under the influence of drink.
The other two remained in the shop. About ten minutes afterwards I heard
a knock. I opened immediately and stood back, several men presented
revolvers at me. One ordered me to walk backwards through the shop.
Three men entered and searched the shop ; they were dressed in Auxiliary
policemen's uniform. After searching the shop they departed. After a few
minutes I heard another knock „ and opened immediately to find three men
with revolvers and dressed as already described. The first man asked me if
I was married, or if there were any men in the house. I answered, "No,
with the exception of one man who is a friend of ours." This man, who is an
ex-soldier, was searched and nothing found on him. He asked me for a
candle, I said there was gas in the shop. He said he wanted to go upstairs.
I offered to accompany him. At the point of the revolver he ordered me
down. Two went upstairs leaving one in the kitchen on guard. My coat
was hanging behind the kitchen door, and he searched it and found nothing.
On a shelf in the kitchen there were several books, which were thoroughly
inspected. One of these books was a scrap book, which he examined and
put in his pocket remarking, as he passed, in a sarcastic tone, that I was very
loyal. Just then two others came downstairs, and the three left, remarking
that they would return in ten minutes.
I went upstairs and found my room thoroughly ransacked, and a desk
forced open with an instrument which they brought with them and
apparently forgot to remove. I have this in my possession at the present
time. They took with them £28 in notes from the desk already mentioned,
also two watches, one gold and the other a cased wristlet.
Outrage, Arson, and Robbery near Dillon's Cross
I, X. Y., do hereby make the following statement, voluntarily, and do
solemnly affirm on oath that it is the truth, to the best of my knowledge and
ability. I remember the night of December 11, 1920, and although I
realised the great necessity of noting times in the great excitement and my
experiences, I can only give approximate times in connection with all
A. — Between the hours of 9 p.m. and midnight, I saw that No.
which is next door, and Mr. B 's house opposite were burning fiercely.
Some time between the above hours, while looking out through my front
window, and while the two houses above-mentioned were burning, I saw six
men in officers' khaki uniform and tam-o'-shanter caps walking past in the
middle of the road, in St. Luke's direction. At the same time, a soldier who
lives with his wife next to B 's (burning) house, came out with a bath of
water and threw it on B 's fire. He was immediately fired on and
quickly went indoors. Uniformed men of the above description patrolled
up and down for many hours, guarding the burnings, fearing attempts to
B. — While in the act of saving my house from the encroaching flames, two
members of the Crown forces, dressed in khaki uniforms, tam-o'-shanter
caps, and carrying revolvers in hand, jumped on me, roaring, and demanded
to know what I was doing. I replied, "Saving our furniture." They asked,
"Were you in the war?" I said, "No," and immediately I was dealt a
severe blow on the face by one of them, causing my teeth to come through
my upper lip. I was then dragged into a neighbour's back-yard, placed up
against a wall there by the taller of them. What happened there I can't
remember, but one of my sisters pleaded for my life, and the answer she got
was that his heart was as hard as the wall, and that it was no use speaking.
C. — From here I was taken out to Dillon's Cross, and while here I was
surrounded by Crown forces dressed in khaki and tasselled caps. They
carried revolvers and made use of terrible language. They were accom-
panied by a civilian of low stature ; fresh, fair features ; wearing a light over-
coat and black tweed hat. His language was more frightful than his com-
panions'. He spoke with a foreign accent and asked me to point out the houses
of Sinn Feiners. This, I said, I could not do. I was also asked questions
about an ambush by another of them, but told him that I knew nothing
D. — Then, when I was preparing for the worst, on account of their
threatening demeanour, a soldier, a private in the Hants. Regiment, rushed
on me. He saved my life, and managed to get me near my own house.
Here I was again met by one of the Crown forces, who questioned me and
asked me to sing "God save the King," but the good soldier stood by me and
managed to get me safe in home.
E. — An Auxiliary, who was standing by the door, followed us into the
kitchen. He was a fine big man, dressed in R.I.C. frieze overcoat, soldier's
ordinary military cap, and khaki trousers. He was a walking arsenal, his
pockets bulging out with bombs. These he showed us and offered to make us
a present of them. He said he was an Auxiliary, and they, the Auxiliaries,
were going to blow up the city. He said he was due to go at 1 a.m. He
left shortly near midnight. I might mention he had also a rifle slung over
his shoulder, a revolver hanging to his left side, and a baton.
F. — While I was at Dillon's Cross under threats of being shot, I saw an
ordinary "Tommy" bring a small-sized bath full of paraffin or petrol,
probably the former, from some house near by, and throw the contents into
Bryan Dillon's house which was burning rapidly. Auxiliaries were looking
on at this. A red-cross ambulance, military, was stationed near by on my
G. — While indoors with my father, brothers, and sisters, we went through
a terrible time. The house next door was by this time fiercely burning, and
the fire was gradually encroaching on ours, but we dared not move to save
either. The Crown forces kept guard over the burning houses, and anybody
trying to save even their own property were fired on.
H.- — However, after curfew, these men became more civilised (heretofore
they appeared to be mad), and left us to save our own, and what we could of
our neighbours' property. On going through our house afterwards, I found
that a silver wristlet watch, valued at £7 10s., and my sister's gold ring,
valued at £12, were missing; much ware and articles of furniture, &c, were
broken and damaged.
Attempt to Murder an Alderman
I, Ellen X., Street, Cork, do hereby make the following statement
voluntarily, and do solemnly affirm that it is the truth to the best of my
knowledge and ability.
At 1 a.m. on the night of December 11, or morning of December 12,
1920, I heard knocking at the door. A stone then came crashing through a
window pane in a front room, overlooking Street, probably on account
of the delay in opening the door.
The girl staying with me went down and opened the door. Shortly
after, a man rushed up the stairs and entered my bedroom. He seemingly
knew his way. He was dressed in trench coat and military khaki cap, and
carried a revolver at his right side. He demanded to know where Mr. X.
was. From his speech, build, and height, I believe him to be the same
officer who raided the house a fortnight previous, armed and disguised,
looking for my husband to shoot him. My husband fortunately was not
there on the occasion.
I said I couldn't tell him where he was, as I did not know. He moved
over close to me, and behind my left shoulder, and demanded my husband's
whereabouts again. It was of no use. He searched the room for a few
minutes. He then said, "Get me those papers, invoices, &c, belonging to
the place. Get them quick for me or I will burn the place."
Demanding the keys of the safe, I told him they may be below, and he
rushed down and returned with the little girl whom I told to get the keys out
of my pocket. When he got the keys he went below.
After some minutes below he returned to me, and searched my coat
where the keys had been. Finding nothing, he turned to me and said,
"Where's the money ? Where do you keep it" ? I said, "It's in the bank."
He then said, "What about to-night's takings" ? I said, "The boy took it
home with him." He growled and said, "I must burn now. Clear out."
I said, "Must you." He said, "Yes. I've got to burn now." I said,
"God help us, will you give us time to take out the children." He said
nothing. My two children, aged 5\ and 7\ years, were in bed in the room at
the time. He paused for a while, and holding his revolver up, said, "If Mr.
X. is not back within a week, I'll burn the place. Do you hear ? Are you
aware of that ?" Repeating this threat a second time, he left, and I saw him
Corroboration of Preceding
I, the undersigned, do hereby make the following statement voluntarily,
and do solemnly declare that it is the truth, to the best of my knowledge
I am at business with Mr. X., at Street, and stayed to sleep there
on the night of December 11, 1920. At 1 a.m. Sunday morning, I was
aroused from my bed by knocking at the door, and heard glass smashing in
the front room. I went down and opened the shop door, and two men in
trench coats and khaki military caps rushed in. They both shouted, "Where
is Mr. X. ?" And I said, "I don't know." One of them said, "How is it
he was seen here to-day ?" I said, "That's impossible, for he wasn't here."
He stamped his foot on the ground, and said, "Damn him. I did see him."
The other fellow ran upstairs.
Although the electric light was lighting in the shop, the fellow remain-
ing asked me for a candle, and when he got it, lit it and went upstairs. I
followed them up, with another candle in my hand. He told me to get
downstairs, and I came down again, following the fellow who went up first,
and who was now coming down again. When I reached the shop, he was
inside the counter, and when I remarked that it was cold, he said, "I should
go and get something around myself."
The fellow upstairs was shouting at me, but I couldn't understand what
he was saying. He came down, and stamping his foot, demanded tea from
me. I said I had none, and he brought me upstairs to Mrs. X., in her bed-
room. She told me to take the keys out of her pocket, and when I handed
them to the military man, he made me come down to the shop again. He
made me show him where the safe was, and then made me withdraw.
From the end of the counter I saw them open the safe, and one of them
exclaimed, "There's nothing but papers here." The one who got the keys,
the taller of the two, then rushed up the stairs, ignoring his comrade's call
to come away. After a few minutes upstairs, he came down and said, "If
he is not back within a week the place must be burned or blown up." "That's
sure," said his companion.
As they made for the door, I opened it for them, and when they had
stepped outside, the taller one said, "Are you aware that we are out for
blood to-night?" at the same time holding up a revolver in his hand. I
said, "I don't know who ye are, or what ye are out for." He said, "We
are Auxiliary Police, and we are out for blood to-night. There were seven
of our men killed and wounded to-night. Did you hear that?" I said,
"No, as I haven't been out." They then left. Both of them spoke with
decided English accents.
Outrage, Arson, and Robbery
We, the undersigned, reside at Street, where we keep a boarding
A. — At about 9 a.m. on Monday, December 6, 1920, a party of Auxiliaries
raided the house ; some of the young men (five in number) were in at the
time. They ordered those men to put their hands up and go on their knees.
They told us to leave the door open and to go out from the firing line. While
the men were on their knees they searched the house. They said, "One of
our chaps is wounded down there, and there won't be many of ye left in the
morning." They remained almost three-quarters of an hour. They found a
card of the Transport Workers on one of the men, and they took this man
out on the street to shoot him. They released him after ten minutes, as the
officer in charge interfered, but they kicked him severely. One of the men
told us that when searching him one of the Auxiliaries pushed a revolver into
his pocket, but a hole was in the latter and the revolver dropped out.
During the raid the Auxiliaries used very offensive language.
B. — A similar party came on Wednesday evening between 3 and 4 p.m.
and ransacked the house. They took £5 from one man and two watches
from two others.
C. — The next occasion they (the Auxiliaries) visited us was on the night
of December 11, 1920, about 11 p.m. Owing to their former visits, all but
one of the men residing with us had left the house and had found other
apartments. When they entered the house they gave us five minutes to
leave ; we were partly dressed and covered ourselves with a blanket.
We prepared to leave, and told them there was a man in the house
and to call him. He too was ordered out. We went to a gate opposite our
house, but they would not let us stop there, telling us to get along up the
road. They ordered the man who was staying in the house to do likewise.
The latter had not been given time to dress properly, and walked after us
up the road in his bare feet, with his boots and socks in his hands. The night
was very cold, and we were walking around the Western Road until about
1 a.m., when a man brought us into his house and accommodated us for the
D. — When we returned to our home next morning we found the place
covered with water and smoke issuing from the rooms. On examining the
house we found that some clothes on top of a cupboard had been set on fire.
The clothes were burned out, the top of the cupboard was also burned, and
cartridges of coppers in same were clung together. Near the cupboard are
board partitions, but fortunately these did not ignite ; had they done so the
whole kitchen would have been burned.
In a bedroom the bedding of two beds were burned, even to the wooden
frames of the springs (the beds were spring beds). On the table in the
dining room I found three lamps, our property. The globes and burners
had been removed, and the oil in them had apparently been used to ignite
the place. The small amount of oil in the lamps would account for the
failure to burn the house completely. The gas meter in the dining room was
riddled with bullets, and was since removed, as it was of no further use.
When the Auxiliaries had departed, neighbours helped to extinguish the
fire, which was practically out. Much damage was done to food, which was
destroyed either by fire or the water used to extinguish the latter.
We, the undersigned, do solemnly declare that the statement we have
given is the truth to the best of our knowledge and ability.
Outrage and Robbery
(Ballyhooly Road is not shown on the map ; it is on the north-east side of the city,
in the direction of Dillon's Cross.)
I, A. B.; of , Ballyhooly Road, make this statement voluntarily,
and do hereby testify to its accuracy on oath.
A. — On Sunday morning, December 12, 1920, we were awakened by a
loud knocking at the door. My wife and myself went down to open it.
At the time we could find neither the key nor a match. The people outside
said they would bomb the house if we did not open the b y door quickly.
We got the key and opened the door, and they rushed in on top of us. One
of them caught me and put me outside the door, and another followed. Two
more took my wife upstairs at the point of the revolver, kept her in while
I was outside, and told her if she moved they would burn the place around
her ; otherwise they offered her no insult or violence. She begged for mercy,
and they would not listen to her. When they got me outside the door they
told me that I had three minutes to live, and they caught me by the arm
and asked me to tell them about the ambush ; that they had got information
about my being in the ambush. I told them that I knew nothing about it.
He then called me a liar. He pushed the revolver against my side several
times and called me a coward. He then told me I had two and a half minutes
to live, and put me against the wall to shoot me.
B. — He next forced me on my knees, and then, seeing the cincture of
St. Augustine on me, he thought it was a belt, and asked the other fellows
for their jack knives to cut it. Fortunately, neither of them could find them
at the time, so I opened it for him, and he beat me on the naked skin several
times with it. I was naked all the time. He then made me stand up and
sing "God Save the King," and when I could not sing it right I got a blow
of the revolver or his fist under the eye a couple of times. He then asked
me what religion I was. I said I was a Roman Catholic. He asked me
what I was, and where I worked, and I told him. He then told me to get
inside quickly, and if they heard of any more ambushes they would blow
myself and house and block of buildings up.
C. — When I went upstairs I missed my watch, also my wife's purse, and
some silver and coppers that were left out to pay the milkman in the morn-
ing. To the best of my belief, three of them wore kilts and brown "tam-
Two of them wore Glengarry caps', with strings at the back. There was
one dressed like an officer, with black cap and light coat, carrying a cane.
All the rest were armed with revolvers, with the exception of him.
I am under the doctor's care since, and am not allowed to go to work.
Brutal Attack on Women and on a Clergyman
("As to the cases of looting and brutal assaults on civilians, including a priest, the
Chief Secretary has no evidence that such action was taken by the armed forces of the
Crown ; and until he has such evidence, he declines to believe for one instant the suggestion
contained in the hon. gentleman's question " (cheers). — Mr. Denis Henry, Attorney-
General for Ireland, in the House of Commons, December 15, 1920.
Since the following statement was received, a similar account of an attack on another
priest has come to hand.)
I, Rev. X. Y., do hereby solemnly declare that the following statement is
the truth, to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A. — I, Rev. X. Y., was returning home from duty in S.S. Peter and
Paul's on Saturday, December 11, 1920, and I succeeded in getting the last
tram for Summerhill, which leaves Father Matthew's statue about 9 p.m.
As the tram passed through MacCurtain Street signs of confusion were visible
in the streets outside (I was seated about midway in the interior of the
tram), but the occupants did not seem to pay much attention. Just as the
tram was about to ascend Summerhill a lorry full of armed men dashed past
us shouting and jeering as they went up the hill.
B. — The tram proceeded on its way up the hill to a distance of about 100
yards beyond the R.I.C. Barracks, Empress Place, Summerhill, when sud-
denly two men (well-dressed and with distinct English accents) dashed into
our tram, and at the point of the revolver drove all inside, with me, out.
A rush was made for the door at the driver's end of the car and as that side
was soon blocked I, being in the middle, could not, of course, move till the
others had crushed their way out. However, the gentlemen with the
revolvers insisted that I should, and so they kept knocking me in the side,
on my face, and around my head with their revolvers. Repeatedly I told
them that I would go as soon as the door was clear, at the same time asking
them what was the meaning of treating me like that. As soon as the way
was clear I did make towards the door but on my way was forcibly pushed
from behind, fell forward, tripped over something on the landing stage of
the car, and was pitched out on my face and hands into the middle of the
C. — Even in my fall I could see that the tram had been surrounded by
armed men, and on getting to my feet I counted about a dozen or more
men dressed in long black coats like rain coats, with khaki coloured bands
or straps over their shoulders and crosswise in front, and wearing black tam-
o'-shanter caps ; each of these uniformed men was armed with a rifle.
Immediately I recognised them as forces of the Crown. As soon as I got
to my feet I found myself in a scene of great confusion ; the uniformed forces
of the Crown were rushing at men and women indiscriminately, shouting
and beating us with the butts of their rifles and firing in all directions ; the
"gentlemen" with the revolvers were raging all round the tram with much
cursing and blasphemy, and were issuing orders to the uniformed forces of
the Crown. Three or four women I saw beaten by the "gentlemen" in
mufti (there were about six of these latter I now discovered). One woman
was knocked to the ground and kicked by a uniformed man as she lay there
helpless and screaming. I made a move to assist this poor woman when one
of the "gentlemen" with the English accent roared out that if any man
stirred he would be shot there and then. I tried to remonstrate, but my
voice was absolutely lost in the general confusion.
D. — All the men were now ordered to the wall on either side of the
ambushed tram, and were roughly told by the "gentlemen" with the
revolvers to "put up our hands." Then one of the uniformed men, appar-
ently to make sure that we had our backs to the wall, prodded each one of
us with the muzzle of his rifle. Then the "gentlemen" in mufti came before
each man, threatening us again with their revolvers, and searching and
kicking, and shouting that they were going to revenge themselves on us
and on the city for what had happened on the hill that night.
E. — The "gentleman" who had me in hand discovered on tearing open
my coat that I was a priest, and he became very excited, shouting that
he had got one of the b fellows who advised the people to shoot them
(the forces of the Crown). Tearing open my inside coat and my vest he
continued to search all my pockets, removing everything I had, including
my watch and some money (about 30s.). These he kept for himself, and
whatever papers and books (including my breviary) he found he kicked out
into the road.
F. — Meantime, the other men were being searched and abused, and the
tram was being smashed by the men in black uniforms. According as the
search of each man was completed he was pushed and kicked and then told he
could go. But I being a priest was held over till all had been searched :
they were going t<> revenge themselves on me and on the town that night,
so they kept. Baying. They all now gathered round me shouting and cursing
the Pope, the Bishop, and .ill the Catholic clergy in general. One of them
rushed on me, tore off my overcoat, my inside coat. Vest, and collar, and
pushed me up against the wall, saying that I was to be shot. All retired
to tla- middle Of the road, and 1 began to feel Dial my end had now surely
come. In I he half light of Ihc place I could not sec very well, hut. they
appeared to he debating will) one another about inc. Suddenly one of I lie
^'gentlemen" With the revolver rushed OVer and roared at me to kneel down,
but before I had time to d<> so he flung me sprawling on the ground. He
said that if I would write Or say "To hell with the Pope'" I would he let off.
I said that surely they would not expect a Catholic priest to say this.
G. — At this point sonic of the "^ r enl lenicn" in the middle of the road
shouted to let that ^ r o, and the "gentleman" who had me on the
ground kicked mc and told me to clear. I got up as well and as quickly
as 1 could, and as 1 was about to go I was kicked again and told I should
run. Heing scarcely able to walk from all the bruises and kicks I had
received, I was quite Unable to carry out the latter command. One of the
uniformed men ran at me with his rifle, saying that he would make me run,
and began to push me violently in the back with the muzzle of his rifle.
Thus pushed from behind I stumbled forward up the hill for about twenty
yards or so. Then I was suddenly grabbed by the shirt collar behind, and
kicked severely and told that if 1 turned round I would be shot. Without
looking round I asked him for my clothes, but 1 found they had been kicked
up the hill a few feet before inc. I was putting them on as hastily as I
could when a shot rang out in my direction. Fortunately, I was not hit,
and I hobbled home as best I could.
Armed Highwaymen near Patrick's Bridge
A. — T, A. H., of Terrace, in the City of Cork, University student,
do hereby solemnly and sincerely declare that on the night of December
II, LQ20, on returning home at about 0.20 p.m., I was held up by armed
men dressed in the uniform of the H.I.C., with khaki bandoliers over their
great coats. There were live men around me, and one of them ordered me
to put up my hands. This I did. They then forced me backwards till my
back was to the wall, and they told me they were going to shoot me. They
kept me in that position for five Or ten minutes. Now and then one of them
put the barrel of a revolver to my face and lifted it upwards, hilling my
nose, and told mc to keep my head back. I was then asked lo say "God
Save the King," otic of them informing me lirst that I would be shot this
way or that. I refused.
H. Most of the men were drunk. One less drunk than the others said
to give uie a chance. Turning to me he said, "Run up that hill and
we'll Are after you."' I ran up the hill (Patrick's Hill), and they tired
after me. I was not hit. This happened at the corner of Coburg Street
and Patrick's Hill.
C. While they held mc against the wall I saw fifteen or twenty men,
dressed similarly to those that held me up, at the bottom of Bridge Street.
There were others about halfway across the bridge. I saw them firing at
one another, and I saw B bomb hurled by the men In Bridge Street at I he
nun OH the bridge. I saw the bomb explode. I did not see the result.
I). I saw the same men lire at a, person on the footpath on the east side
of the bridge. I saw the man fall.
On going homewards along Wellington Road, l saw about twelve Black
and Tans," each with a girl, going towards town.
Trouble Expected Three Hours before the Alleged Ambush
Armed Ruffians in the Streets
I live at Patrick's Hill, and remember the night of December 11, LQ20.
A. — About 5.30 that evening 1 was reading in a library in the city, when
a friend (a Protestant Unionist) came lip to me and told me to go home at
once as he was told there was to be bad work that night, and also not to let
anyone that I cared about out that evening.
B. — I went home as quickly as 1 could. There appeared to be some sort
of trouble or skirmish iu Patrick Street.
C. — About 9.80 1 was sitting in my house With BOme friends when shots
rang out quite near. 1 turned off the lights and looked out. There were
ten or twleve men in dark uniform in the centre of the road where Hridge
Street and King Street meet. They were holding up passers-by. I saw
them beat and kick one man most cruelly. Then they told him to run and
immediately Bred two shots after him. As they appeared to be drunk and
unsteady, they fortunately missed him.
D. — The same men then went along Bridge Street and broke into tin-
Standard House (jewellers) by the window round the corner. Some poliei
came apparently from Patrick's Quay and evidently stopped further loot.
E. — A tram came along then from King Street and was stopped by the
men at the Standard House. They broke all the glass in the tram. Tin-
tram then went on and at the other side of the bridge, near the statue, it
was set on fire.
Early Firing by Armed Drunkards
I remember the nighl of December 11. 1 had been shopping thai after
noon in Cork City, and was making my way towards the (in at Southern and
Western Railway Station at (danmirc, to catch the 9.40 p.m. train to .
A. — I passed along MacCurtain Street (late King Street). It was then
9 p.m., and everything appeared normal. Two CrOSsley light lorries passed
me, full of armed men dressed in R.I.C. uniform. They were under the
influence of drink, as I distinctly saw them falling about in a drunken
fashion in the Ionics. They were shouting noisily.
B. — The two lorries pulled up at the Soldiers' Home, Lower (danmire
Road. They remained there about three minutes, when the cars again left ;
the majority of the policemen being left behind. Their accents were foreign,
so i believed them to be "Black and Tans." The lorries proceeded along
MacCurtain Street, citywards. I stood at the eorner of Water Street, about,
twenty or thirty yards from the Coliseum (a picture house situated at the
Corner of MacCurtain and Brian Horn Street), to watch those left behind,
as I anticipated they intended starting some blackguardly conduct.
C. — I was only there about ten minutes, when the whole party of
them, numbering from fourteen 1o eighteen, opened lire without the slightest
warning <>r provocation. The firing was indiscriminate, going in all dine
tions. Pullets were hopping and whi/./.ing every where. (Jirls, women, and
children were in a fainting condition, crouching in doorways and running
heller skelter for shelter. This eorner of MaeCurlain Street was like "Hell
let loose" with the firing and roaring. The streets became deserted in a
few minutes. I took e;tily refuge in the station, and could hear the rifle
firing and revolver firing continue Tor upwards of twenty minutes. The
station was soon filled with panic Stricken people, who, from their own relat
ings, had undergone terrible experiences. 1 departed for home on the 0.|. r i
Official Report of the Superintendent of the City of Gork Fire Brigade
(December 15, 1920)
Incendiary Fires. Explosives Used. Hose Cut. Firemen Fired Upon.
Military Refused Fire Appliances
(Captain Hutson is an Englishman.)
The Right Hon. the Lord Mayor of Cork.
Sir, — In "reference to the fires which occurred in the city on Saturday
night, December 11, 1920, I beg to report as follows : —
A. — At 10.30 p.m. I received a call to Messrs. A. Grant and Co., Patrick
Street, whose extensive premises were on fire. I found that the fire had
gained considerable headway and the flames were coming through the roof.
I got three lines of hose to work — one in Mutton Lane and two in Market
Lane, intersecting passages on either side of these premises. With a good
supply of water we were successful in confining the fire to Messrs. Grant's,
Patrick Street premises, and prevented its spread to that portion running
to the Grand Parade from Mutton Lane, while we saved, except with slight
damage, the adjacent premises of Messrs. Hackett (jeweller) and Haynes
(jeweller). The Market — a building mostly of timber — to the rear of Messrs.
Grants was found to be in great danger. If this building became involved a
conflagration would ensue with which it would be almost impossible to cope.
Except for only a few minor outbreaks in the roof we were successful in
saving the Market and also other valuable premises in Mutton Lane.
B. — During the above operations I received word from the Town Clerk
that the Munster Arcade was on fire. This was about 11.30 p.m. I sent all
the men and appliances available to contend with it. Shortly after I got
word that Messrs. Cash's premises were on fire. I shortened down hose at
Mutton Lane and sent all available stand-pipes, hose, &c, and men to con-
tend with this fire. I found both the Munster Arcade and Messrs. Cash's
well alight from end to end, with no prospect of saving either, and the fire
spreading rapidly to the adjoining property. The area involved in these
two fires was very large and embraced many valuable and extensive premises.
C. — All the hydrants and mains that we could possibly use were brought
to bear upon the flames and points were selected where the fire may be
possibly checked and our efforts concentrated there. The General Post
Office fire appliances were brought out and did good service in and around
Winthrop Street, Robert Street, &c. I regret to state that I found this new
hose had been cut in several places whilst in the streets and was of no further
use. It was not until about 8 a.m. when I may state that the whole of the
numerous points to which the flames had reached were partially under
D. — About 4 a.m. I was in! rmed that the Municipal Buildings were on
fire. Knowing that there was a practical man with half a dozen men under
his control there I had some confidence that they would be able to deal effec-
tively with the fire as had already been done on three previous occasions. I
very much regret, however, that the incendiaries were successful in driving
my men out of the buildings and also from the Carnegie Free Library.
E. — I continued to do my best to confine the fires to the numerous streets
off Patrick Street up to 10.30 a.m. no Sunday morning, having been on
duty from 7 a.m. on the previous day.
Mr. Delany, city engineer, kindly came to my assistance and supervision
of the men at work at the various points required.
F. — In connection with the fires at Dillon's Cross I wish to say that on
receipt of the call for that fire I got in touch with the military at Victoria
Barracks and asked them to take their hose reel and stand-pipes at the
barrack gate down at once as I had been called to Grant's fire in Patrick
Street, but they took no notice of my request. At the Patrick Street fires
it is remarkable that the military never brought any fire appliances what-
ever — as they had done on nearly all previous occasions up to the last few
months. I must say that prior to these incendiary fires the military
frequently rendered us valuable assistance not only in keeping the streets
clear but also in extinguishing the fires. The statements of the two firemen
working at Scully O'ConnelPs fire indicate the general position of the military
on this occasion.
G. — I have no hesitation in stating I believe all the above fires were in-
cendiary fires and that a considerable amount of petrol or some such
inflammable spirit was used in one and all of them. In some cases explosives
were also used and persons were seen to go into and come out of the struc-
tures after breaking an entrance into same, and in some cases that I have
attended the people have been brought out of their houses and detained in
by-lanes until the fire had gained great headway. I have some of the petrol
tins left behind in my possession.
I remain, Your obedient servant,
ALFRED J. HUTSON.
Statement of Fireman L. (ex-Soldier)
Armed and Uniformed Incendiaries
I, the undersigned, Fireman L., make the following voluntary statement,
to the accuracy of which I hereby testify on oath.
A. — At 10 p.m. on Saturday night, December 11, a telephone message
came to Grattan Street Fir« ° J ^on from Captain Hutson that there was
a fire at Dillon's Cross. We at once drove out the ambulance, and in five
minutes were at Patrick Street, where we saw Grant's on fire. It was then
well alight and too big to be managed by us, so we decided to go at once to
Sullivan's Quay for assistance. At the corner of Prince's Street and Patrick
Street we stopped on seeing between forty and fifty civilians, well dressed,
walking in a body in the middle of the road. They were walking along
Patrick Street from the direction of Patrick's Bridge. They were close to
us, marching in step, and had revolvers in their hands. At the side of this
body of men were four or five men in khaki uniform coats with Glengarry
B. — I got down, walked towards them and shouted, "We are firemen."
They halted. "Where are you going to ?" I was asked. In my opinion the
speaker had an English accent. I replied, "To Sullivan's Quay, to turn out
the fire brigade." A man answered me "All right. Take your time, you'll
have a few more in a minute." The man who said this was one of the
party ; he was only four or five feet from me, and had a revolver in his hand.
C. — We then drove to Sullivan's Quay, where we found the fire brigade
ready and their appliances on the road. We all drove — two horse reels,
fire escape, and ambulance — to Grant's, and worked at the fire there. After
I was working about half-an-hour near Mutton Lane, at the side of Grant's,
I saw the same crowd of men coming along Patrick Street in the same direc-
tion as before. I deliberately observed them. They stopped for a short
time and were speaking to police and military. Then they turned about
and went down Patrick Street in the direction of Patrick's Bridge.
D. — After about another half-hour I saw the Munster Arcade ablaze and
the same crowd just outside. They were firing with revolvers up and down
the street and in the air. I saw them distinctly as the blaze made it like
E. — These men then went down towards Cash's, and in about a quarter
of an hour Cash's burst into fire. The men — including the four or five in
Glengarry caps — were standing outside and firing revolvers as before.
F. — During all this time there were military and police near me. Some
of the military and the old R.I.C. men assisted me in my work.
At about 3.30 a.m. I received a bad burn and had to retire.
Fireman M. sees Uniformed Incendiaries. Fireman and Ambulance Fired On
(The main fire-station is on Sullivan's Quay. There is another fire-station in Grattan
Street. See map.)
I, the undersigned, Fireman M., make the following statement, which I
hereby confirm on oath.
A. — I left Grattan Street with four other men on the motor ambulance to
go to a fire at Dillon's Cross. On arriving at Patrick Street we saw Grant's
was on fire. We halted and then decided to proceed to Sullivan's Quay for
help. On reaching the corner of Prince's Street, I, who was driving, saw a
body of forty or fifty men walking in a body in the centre of Patrick Street
coming towards us in very mixed dress — some with khaki coats, some with
khaki trousers, and some wore Glengarry caps.
B. — I stopped the ambulance and Fireman L. got down and approached
them, and shouted, "We're firemen." Then they asked him where we were
going. He replied to Sullivan's Quay to notify headquarters. One man,
who seemed to be in charge, shouted, "Take your time." We then pro-
ceeded and returned to the fire with the brigade from Sullivan's Quay.
C. — About 3.30 a.m. I was stationed in Patrick Street near Lester's,
with the ambulance. Fireman L. came over to me, and pointing to a tall
man who was talking to a soldier, told me he was dangerous. The tall man
soon after came up to me. He was about 5 ft. 11 ins. high, long featured,
clean shaven, with bushy fringe ; he wore a blue-belted mackintosh and no
head-dress ; he had a small attache case in one hand and a revolver in the
other. He said that his brother and fourteen more had been ambushed
and that he had just received word from the barracks that four were dead.
He said he would have revenge. I immediately appealed to him not to
interfere with the unfortunate firemen who were out for humanity's sake.
He said he wouldn't. He then proceeded over to Winthrop Street. I saw
him firing in the direction of two firemen playing a hose near Winthrop
Lane. He then passed on towards the Post Office. I went up to a military
officer and appealed to him to protect the firemen. He sent two men down
to put the tall man under arrest. I went down with the men as far as the
Post Office. One of them stopped there and the other went on. As I met
him going around loose about an hour later, I concluded that he was not
D. — About 4 a.m. I was stationed in Patrick Street with the ambulance.
I was conveying two firemen home to get their clothes changed ; I received
an escort of four poliemen. I crossed Patrick's Bridge and went along
Pope's Quay ; on reaching Mulgrave Road a shot was fired. On inspecting
the ambulance in Patrick Street after returning, I discovered a bullet mark
just behind where I was sitting. The bullet went right through the hood,
just over and behind my head. I inquired from one of the firemen whom I
fiad been carrying and he told me he heard a voice saying, "We'll have a
shot at a lamp," and instead of firing at the lamp he fired at me.
Fireman K. sees the Armed Uniformed Incendiaries
He is Fired on by the Police
(Lester's pharmacy is marked No. 16 on the map.)
A. — I, the undersigned, Fireman K., left Grattan Street Fire Station
about 10.10 p.m. on Saturday night, December 11, 1920, with four other
men to put out a fire at Dillon's Cross. We found Grant's on fire, and
being unable to deal with it we decided to proceed to Sullivan's Quay for
help. We halted at the corner of Prince's Street and Patrick Street. We
all got out. I saw about forty men marching along the road on Patrick
Street, going towards the fire at Grant's. They all had revolvers in their
hands. I did not notice their head dress except four or five on the out-
skirts of the crowd, these had Glengarry caps on. The rest seemed to be
dressed as civilians, but the majority had long coats and belts.
B. — I heard Fireman L. saying "We're firemen," but did not hear the
answer as I was back a little.
C. — I helped in bringing the fire escape from Sullivan's Quay and worked
at Grant's till about 2 a.m. I then went to Maylor Street. I was there
playing a hose when three fairly tall police, not local, came up Merchant
Street towards Patrick Street. They fired up the street towards me. I
saw the flashing of their rifles, and had stooped when I saw them cocking
their rifles. Some military near Lester's went over and spoke to the police.
The police then went towards the right along Patrick Street, and I heard
some more shots in their direction shortly after.
D. — About an hour after that a tall chap came up to me. He was clean
shaven, well-built, had a fuzzy fringe, wore a dark mackintosh, had no cap,
carried a small bag, and also a revolver. He asked me what I was here
for. I said, "Doing my duty." He said his brother was killed in the
ambush and somebody would go down for it. He then went over and spoke
to the soldiers outside Lester's. After a little while I went over to the group
of soldiers, about six of them, and asked if I would be safe in staying there.
They said they didn't think there was any fear. Later on M., who was with
me, saw the same man firing again, and I requested him to appeal to the
military to arrest him. I stopped at the fire till about 7.30 a.m.
Statement of Fireman O. Military Refuse use of their Fire Appliances
Firemen Fired on by Police and Auxiliaries
I, the undersigned, Fireman O., make the following voluntary declara-
tion and confirm the same on oath.
A. — I was in Sullivan's Quay on the evening of Saturday, December 11.
About 10 p.m., three telephone messages came. The first was from Union
Quay Police Barracks to say that there was a big fire in town. The second
was from the Police Barracks in Empress Place to say that there was a fire
in the Ballyhooly Road. The third was from Cork Barracks to say that
there was a fire in Ballyhooly Road. I requested them to use their own fire
appliances there as we would have enough to do. I was told to go to blazes,
and I told them I was going there hard.
B. — About 11 p.m., I and Fireman S. left the station in order to join in
the work. We were only just left the station when we were fired at point-
blank from the Grand Parade, on the opposite side of the river. We returned
to the station, and then saw that it was police and Auxiliaries who fired.
Shortly after, the ambulance came and brought us over to the fire.
Fireman S. is Fired on by Auxiliaries and Police
I, the undersigned, temporary Fireman S., make the following voluntary
declaration and confirm the same on oath.
A. — About 11 p.m. on the night of Saturday, December 11, Fireman O.
and myself left the fire station and went along Sullivan's Quay. We had
only just gone a short distance when shots were fired across the river at us,
from the Grand Parade. We rushed back to the station and from there saw
that it was Auxiliaries and police who had fired.
B. — The motor ambulance afterwards took us to the fire. About 1 a.m.
I was at the Patrick Street corner of Winthrop Street, working a line of hose,
when a lorry of Auxiliaries — I knew them by their caps — came along from
Patrick's Bridge and turned into Winthrop Street: They halted and made
me put up my hands. But after a little while they left me alone and went
on. I then went over to Lester's and got three soldiers to come with me. I
brought my fire-reel into Winthrop Street, and as we were coming round five
or six Auxiliaries with tasselled caps at the corner of the Post Office fired a
volley towards us. I saw the flashes distinctly. A bullet grazed my leg and
made a slight wound. One of the soldiers who was with me was shot in the
leg, and the other two took him away back into Patrick Street.
C. — While I was working in Winthrop Street, I saw on the opposite side
of the street a very tall fellow with a black overcoat and no cap talking to
some policeman. He said he was out for revenge to-night, and would blow
up Patrick Street by himself.
Fireman P. is Fired on and Wounded
I, the undersigned, Fireman P., make the following voluntary statement
to the accuracy of which I hereby testify on oath.
After the call came to Sullivan's Quay Fire Station, I went out with the
other men and worked at the fire in Grant's. About 10.30 (on Saturday
evening, December 11), I was working a line of hose in Patrick's Street.
There was firing all round me as I was working at the fire. I did not notice
whether the firing came from military or men in civilian attire. I was hit
in the right hand and left ear by bullets and had to be taken in the ambulance
to the North Infirmary. The military must have been quite near, for an
escort of two inside the ambulance and one outside with the driver was
Fireman R. (ex-Soidier) is Fired on by Drunken Officer
I, the undersigned, Auxiliary Fireman R., ex-soldier, give the following
entirely voluntary testimony, which I hereby confirm on oath.
I started work about 1.30 a.m. on Sunday. I was helping the firemen at
Grant's, and went up the escape with Captain Hutson. About 2 a.m. as I
was going up the escape with the hose in my hand, an officer — he was an
officer of the Gordon's, and quite young — came out of Market Lane, he was
very drunk. He fired twice at me and I threw myself on the ground, and
while I was there he discharged the other four chambers of his revolver. He
then shouted out, "I am a Englishman." A District Inspector
stepped out from the other side of the street, took a revolver from a police-
man, and handed it to the officer. He told him he was an Irishman, asked
him to walk six paces, and the best man would fall. The officer did not
accept the challenge. When I got up, I said to him, "I am an ex-soldier, do
not kill me." I then succeeded in escaping, and went away.
Fireman N. is Fired on
(The Lee Boot Company is marked No. 18, and Burton's No. 13, on the map.)
I, the undersigned, N., make the following voluntary declaration and
testify to it on oath.
A. — I was acting as temporary Auxiliary Fireman at the fire on the
night of December 11-12, 1920. About 12.30 a.m. I was at Cash's helping
Fireman K. On his orders I broke in the door of the Lee Boot Co., as the
back was catching fire. When I was just inside, three shots were fired
towards me. I saw three soldiers running across Patrick Street from the
B. — About 2 a.m. I was hosing Burton's drapery shop, and near nie was
a woman who lived over the shop. A tall man came up to me from the Win-
throp Street direction; he was clean-shaven and wore a black mackintosh,
but no cap or hat, and had a bag and also a revolver. He asked me why I
was hosing Burton's. I said in order to save the property of the woman
behind him. He said, "Damn the woman, we'll show no mercy here." He
then spoke to the woman and she seemed to be pleading with him. I heard
him saying to her that his brother was killed in the ambush, and that four
were dead and ten wounded. He added, that he would have revenge before
the night was out. He then passed across to the other side of the street.
Statement by Fireman Q.
I, the undersigned, Fireman Q., make the following voluntary statement,
and confirm the same by oath.
I was working at Grant's fire until about 4.30 a.m. on the morning of
Sunday, December 12. Shortly after that I was stopped at the corner of
Cook Street and Patrick Street by a tall man, nearly six feet high. He had
long features and bushy hair, wore a dark belted coat, and carried a small
hand-bag and also a revolver. I had previously got the tip from some fire-
men that this dangerous man was going about. He told me to get a dozen
men as fast as I could and bring them to Flanagan's Hotel. I said I would
look myself first. I went down with him, went up the escape, and played the
hose until he went away. I then came back and when I met him I told him
I had sent a dozen men there.
Report of Fireman J. Fired on by "Black and Tans"
I, Auxiliary Fireman J., was in Winthrop Lane when called to Merchant
Street by military, who were escorting me, when "Black and Tans" fired on
us, and wounded one of the military escort, and I got a graze on my right
hip and was told to clear away. I saw they had petrol in a black motor-car
and they were putting petrol into Roche's Stores from Merchant Street. I
had to clear out, and two military took the wounded soldier around to
Merchant's Quay. I then made the best of my way back to you (Capt.
Hutson) in Patrick Street.
Fireman T. is Fired on and Wounded
I, the undersigned, Fireman T., made the following voluntary declara-
tion, and testify to it on my oath.
During most of Sunday, December 12, I was working the fire engine
on Merchant's Quay. I was also with my engine there on Sunday night,
keeping the steam up. At about 1.30 a.m. on Monday morning just as I
was feeding the boiler, a bullet was fired at me from the direction of
Patrick's Bridge, and injured my nose. I was taken in the ambulance to
the South Infirmary.
Fireman U. is Threatened by Policeman
A. — I, the undersigned, Auxiliary Fireman U., was working at the fire
all day on Sunday, December 12. At about 1.30 a.m. on Monday morning
I found Fireman T. bleeding profusely through the nose. I took him in
the ambulance to the South Infirmary.
B. — At about 11 a.m. on Monday morning, a fresh outbreak of fire was
reported in Oliver Plunkett Street. I was going down Winthrop Street in
my uniform, of course, and put my hand in my pocket to get a cigarette.
A policeman, not local, was just coming up the street. He presented a
revolver at me and told me I would get an ounce of lead in me if I did not
take my hand out of my pocket.
Statement of Firemen V., W., X., Y., Z. Incendiaries at the City Hall
Police Turn Off the Hose
We, the undersigned, Firemen V., W., X., Y., Z., make the following
statement. We jointly testify on oath to the accuracy of what stands in
our joint names, and we individually swear that what appears under our
individual names is, to the best of our belief and opinion, accurate.
A. — In view of possible further attempts to burn the City Hall, we had
been stationed nightly on the premises, remaining there from 6 p.m. to
About 10.45 p.m. on the night of Saturday, December 11, we noticed
that the whole city was illuminated, and telephoned to the fire brigade and
were told that Grant's, Cash's, and the Munster Arcade were on fire.
B. — About 1.40 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, December 12, we heard
a volley on Albert Quay, and after three or four minutes, a loud knocking
at the front doors. We retired through the rear to Cornmarket Yard.
When there we saw three or four men in civilian clothes coming over the
library wall. Fireman X. noticed that one man had a sledge or an axe.
These men burst in the back corridor of the City Hall and thus effected an
entrance into the building. We waked up the Superintendent of the Corn-
market, but he refused to allow us to use the telephone. We then went
over to the Bandon Railway Station, and from there telephoned to the fire
station. We were told that nothing could be done as the city was on fire.
C. — About 2.45 a.m. three of us (Firemen V., X., Z.) went out to Albert
Quay and saw two men carrying petrol tins coming from the direction of
Union Quay. These men went into the City Hall. We again retired to the
station. Shortly after that we perceived that Mrs. Cassidy's room was on
fire. About 4.80 a.m. we heard a man shout, "stand clear," and an
explosion occurred in the City Hall ; this was followed by ten or twelve
intermittent explosions during the next half-hour.
D. — After 5 a.m., the same three of us went out again on to the
quay. We saw three men walking towards Union Quay. We crossed over
Clontarf Bridge and verified that these men had not crossed Parnell Bridge.
E. — Fireman Z. went to work at the fires in Patrick Street. There he
saw military and police, apparently drunk, firing indiscriminately. About
6 a.m., when passing through Winthrop Street, he saw soldiers outside
Tyler's boot shop, and also women and civilians, apparently looting. About
8.30, while working near Roche's Stores, in Patrick Street, he heard a volley
in the direction of Patrick's Bridge.
F. — Firemen V. and X. found the horse hose reel in Oliver Plunkett
Street and they took it down Cook Street towards the City Hall. On the
way they met the second horse hose reel at the corner of Anglesea Street
being driven along by two soldiers. Shortly after 6 a.m. — the clock tower
in the City Hall was still standing — they fixed the hose to the hydrant in
Albert Quay and played it on the Library. About thirty policemen, includ-
ing a head constable and three sergeants, came along from Union Quay.
The police had rifles. They lined up along the quay opposite the City Hall
and also around the hydrant. For the next half -hour they turned off the
water four or five times from the hose; each time Fireman V. came back
and turned it on again. He spoke to the head constable, who said he would
give every assistance. The fireman replied that if he kept his men away it
would be much better. The head constable replied that he had no control
After about half-an-hour, seeing that the police kept turning the water
off, the two firemen gave up, and took the horse and hose back to Oliver
Plunkett Street. On their way they saw the same two soldiers with the
other horse hose in the South Mall.
G. — Fireman Y. remained in the railway station until 7 a.m.
H. — About 6.30 a.m. Fireman W. came out and walked along Albert
Quay. As he came to Parnell Bridge he noticed the R.I.C. lined up along
the quay, and he also noticed the head constable. As he passed about three
of the police fired up in the air.
Police Incendiary Leaves His Cap in the City Hall
(This cap is now safely stored, and is available for inspection.)
I, the undersigned, do hereby make the following statement voluntarily,
and do solemnly affirm that it is the truth to the best of my knowledge and
On Monday evening, December 13, 1920, I went into the "pipe and coal
yard" adjoining the fitter's shop (in Cornmarket, situate at the rear of the
City Hall) to get some coal. I found an R.I.C. cap lying loosely on some
pipes near the library wall. This cap could not have been there on Satur-
day, 11th, up to 12.30 p.m., when we stop work, without my knowledge.
The adjoining wall where the cap was found was invariably used as one
means of getting into the back of the City Hall when the military raided the
place on former occasions.
The cap referred to above is of the usual R.I.C. type. It bears the usual
badge, the harp surmounted by the Crown. It is of the loose type, such as
is worn by the motor drivers of the R.I.C. Initials and numbers are marked
on the inside of same.
Statement of an Ex-Officer. The Loot of Mangan's and Cash's. Auxiliaries
in Mufti. Undertaking not to Identify
A. — About 9.15 p.m. on the night of Saturday, December 11, 1920, I
went into O'Grady's cigarette shop, having come over from the Opera
House. Just after entering shots rang out in the street, and I proceeded
to the lounge bar upstairs. There I encountered three men in mufti, with
revolvers in their hands. I spoke to them in a friendly manner and a
general conversation ensued, during which I observed that two of them were
more or less intoxicated and one was fairly sober. Two had English
accents, and I couldn't quite make out the other, but he told me that he
was a North of Ireland man. As intermittent firing was going on in the
street I thought it unsafe to venture out, so remained on. At about 10.10
p.m. a tram was set on fire in the street in front of the bar, and shortly
afterwards a bomb exploded quite near. (I was subsequently informed by
Auxiliaries that the bomb was thrown at Mangan's in order to effect an
B. — As I feared that the three men inside might turn "nasty" when
they had taken more drink, or that those outside might come in, I asked
the proprietor to telephone to the military for protection. lie, apparently,
knew some of the officers personally and tried to get on to them, but was
informed by one mess that there were no officers at all in at that time (about
C. — At about eleven o'clock Auxiliaries in uniform — led by a man in
mufti, whose face was partly disguised with marks of black paint, and
accompanied by other men in mufti — came into the bar. They treated us
all in a friendly manner, and I explained to the one who appeared to be the
leader that, owing to the firing in the street, I had been unable to get home
before ten ; that a telephone message had been sent to the military barracks
for protection, but that no promise of assistance had been given.
D. — The leader ( ?) then offered to provide an escort of Auxiliaries for
any who wished to go home. He inquired where each of us lived, and
appeared to know the city thoroughly. We had a drink and then pro-
ceeded outside. The leader ( ?) suggested that we should stand with a few
Auxiliaries near the burning tram, as we should run less risk there of being
shot by the "Black and Tans," while he collected an escort. He remarked
to us that it was a stupid thing to loot Mangan's as he knew they were
loyalists. He then went over with one Auxiliary and tried to get the
"Black and Tans" out of Mangan's. He shouted to them, "You are in the
wrong shop, that man is a loyalist," and they replied that they didn't give
a damn as that was the shop that had been pointed to them.
E. — While we were waiting men in various uniforms (khaki trousers
and police coats with either khaki or police hats) but all or nearly all hav-
ing police great coats, which were loaded with loot, were coming out of
Mangan's and proceeding towards Roche's Stores and Cash's where a party
F.— We were then asked to give an undertaking not to identify any one
of the party in the event of any subsequent inquiry. We gave the under-
G. — Next, we were asked to accompany them to the Bridewell as some
of them had to get into uniform and some to get their uniform hats, so that
they wouldn't be shot in mistake for civilians by some other party. Those
in "mufti" subsequently came out in uniform.
H. — While waiting outside the Bridewell an Auxiliary Cadet — who told
me he had been in the ambush that evening — mentioned that as Cash's had
been so badly looted they were going to set it on fire in order to cover up
the loot. I told him that I believed that some girls lived over the building
and that they should warn them in time. He replied that they didn't wish
to burn any girls alive, and said that they would detail a party to warn the
people in the houses.
I. — At the Bridewell they obtained a military lorry and, having again
reminded us of our promise not to identify any of them, they drove me to
the South Gate Bridge, where I said good-night to them at about 12.30,
having their assurance that there were rio troops or "Black and Tans" in
the College Road direction that night.
N.B. — By "mufti" I mean dressed in a mackintosh overcoat, scarf, and
ordinary civilian cap.
Dated this 18th day of December, 1920.
Resident of Patrick Street sees Uniformed Men Loot Mangan's. Officer and
Military are Powerless
I, the undersigned, make the following statement voluntarily, and
solemnly affirm and swear on oath that same is the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth.
A.— I remember the night of December 11, 1920. At 8.55 p.m., hear-
ing some shouting and shots in the direction of Patrick's Bridge, I looked
out through my window overlooking Patrick Street, and saw a Crossley car
filled with men, two of whom I could see; they were Auxiliaries with
tasselled caps. The shouting and commotion led me to believe that they
were holding up citizens on the bridge.
The lorry drove away and I saw seven or nine men dressed in civilian
clothes come from the bridge and proceed along Patrick Street. They
halted three other civilians at Evans's (bookseller, Patrick Street), seem-
ingly questioning them as to their identity. I saw one of the seven civilians
go over to Evans's window and deliberately smash it with something heavy
which he held in his hand. During this time the three civilians were allowed
to proceed on their way, and one of the seven civilians was shouting to
the others on the bridge to "Come on." I thought the accent was an Irish
one. Three more civilians joined them in response, and firing indiscrimin-
ately around the street they disappeared along Patrick Street in the direction
of mid-Patrick Street. The street was empty of all people at this time.
B. — At about 9.40 p.m. I heard a crackling noise, and at 10 p.m. I
noticed a flame of fire in the street, and looking out I saw a tramcar in
flames near Father Matthew Statue. No one was in view between the
bridge and Cash's (which was about the length of my view in Patrick
Street). A little after I heard a motor lorry pass in the direction of Pat-
rick's Bridge, and passing the tram on fire, the occupants indulged in various
shouts and yells of delight, with unmistakable English accents.
C. — Near 10.30 p.m. I heard loud banging on woodwork on the opposite
side of the street, and again looking out of the window I saw six or seven
men in uniform at Mangan's. Some of the roll shutters were half up and
I could see into the shop. A voice said, "Open up, open up quick," in a
stiff tone and English accent. I then heard the smashing of heavy glass,
and noise as if it was being walked on. Looking out again I saw a large
number moving about inside Mangan's, with the aid of electric torch lamps.
One man, dressed in complete policeman's uniform, was running to and fro
outside in a very nervous manner, as if on watch for those inside. There
were times during the occurrence at Mangan's when he did go in and come
out again. The party were inside for upwards of three-quarters of an hour,
the lights inside going here and there, and loud noise of the smashing of
glass. They then came out. Some dressed in civilian clothes, with light
trench coats, some in complete policemen's uniforms, numbering about five,
and totalling in all about a dozen men. They had large suit cases, a few
had small ones in their hands, and appeared heavily laden. They pro-
ceeded calmly in the direction of Cash's. There was no one else within my
view on the street at the time.
D. — One of the last of the above men had a light coloured tin of petrol
in each hand, and he also proceeded in the direction of Cash's. The last
man of the above-mentioned men had something like a taper in his hand.
It was lighting. He was low-sized, in civilian attire, dark, with something
across his nose and mouth. He conversed with two other civilian-attired
men at the Tivoli Restaurant; the thing like a taper burning still. After a
few seconds, during which he was watching the taper, he ran in the direction
of the corner of Drawbridge Street, throwing something in the air which
exploded with tremendous violence.
E. — Immediately afterwards I saw a body of men, in three lots of two
each, dressed in civilian attire, come from the direction of Cash's and re-
enter Mangan's with white bundles under their arms. While these were
inside I saw a Crossley car come from the direction of Patrick's Bridge,
and containing about eight soldiers and an officer, all in military uniform.
F. — They passed Mangan's on the off side of the street and could not
have gone further than Cash's, when I saw the soldiers and officer march
back and halt exactly opposite Mangan's. The officer gave the order
"About turn," and they retraced their steps for four or five yards. What
I thought peculiar was that the order did not seem such as would be given
by an officer to trained men. It was weak, for they moved slowly over
to Mangan's door. They stood looking in at the looters, and some of the
latter came outside, taking no notice whatsoever of the soldiers.
G. — After about five minutes the looters came out and went in the direc-
tion of Patrick's Bridge with their parcels, and with pockets bulging. Two
of the soldiers then remained on guard up and down outside Mangan's, the
remainder moved towards Cash's, including the officer. I saw the taller of
these two soldiers walk to the middle of the street and kick something white,
which I could see was some silver article, in the shape of a cup or bowl.
The lamp in the middle of the street was lighting. When he looked at it
he picked it up and threw it into the burning tram.
Later when I looked Mangan's shutters were again in place and it had
the appearance of never having been touched.
H. — From that onwards I could only see these two soldiers on the
street, even up to 4 a.m., at which time or thereabouts the city lamps
were extinguished for some reason. I remarked to my wife that it was an
exceptional thing that that night I only saw one armoured car, a Crossley
car, and a heavy lorry containing curfew soldiers, going through Patrick
Street. I knew there were burnings taking place further up the street but
could not see them. I heard several explosions every hour, some loud,
some faint, and volley after volley of rifle and revolver shots, from 8.55
p.m. on Saturday night to about 6.30 a.m. on Sunday morning.
An Englishman sees Military and Police Loot a Shop
(In order to conceal the identity of this gentleman and of the shop to which he refers,
some omissions have had to be made in this deposition. This witness is a business man
in a very responsible position, a Protestant and an Englishman.)
A. — Whilst I was listening to find out what the commotion was about
1 was told men were looking up at the shop sign and mentioning the name of
B. — I said, "They are in," and immediately rushed downstairs into the
shop and switched on the light. I saw the form of a man in military uni-
form trying to force open the inner door, the glass of which he had already
broken. I shouted out, "All right." He said, "Open up." I pushed the
broken glass off the mat and got the door open. He entered and I saw that
he had a revolver in his right hand. He then said, "Lights up, your keys."
I said, "I will get them."
C. — I went upstairs and consulted as to a means of escape, but thinking
it might lead to the loss of our lives, we decided to remain. We could hear
the smashing of glass going on below. At the end of about an hour and a
half we heard several footsteps ascending the stairs. I descended, and on
the second landing I met the same uniformed man, who again demanded
the keys. With him was another man in military uniform, also a man in
dark uniform, who had a white handkerchief fastened to the lower portion
of his face. This man was rather short.
D. — Seeing resistance was useless I went into the shop and opened the
strong room. Whilst there I saw several men in uniforms. They were all
taking things and putting them into their pockets. One man in civilian
attire had a suit case which he was just closing and which he had filled with
E. — Up to the time of making this statement (January 1, 1921) none of
the missing goods have been returned to us, neither have we been asked by
the authorities to identify any of our property.
An Ex-Officer sees Crowds of Auxiliaries and Police Taking Loot to the
Empress Place Barracks
(This has since been corroborated by other witnesses.)
I, the undersigned, wish to make the following voluntary statement in
connection with the recent occurrences which took place in the city on the
night of Saturday, December 11, 1920.
A. — Having been to the theatre I was returning home at 9.10 p.m., when
three or four shots were fired in the vicinity of Patrick Street. I walked
towards the Coliseum to get home by the New Bridges, when another volley
was fired. By this time the streets were absolutely deserted, and I thought
it was wiser to stay in town at a hotel. I therefore went to the X Hotel,
knocked, and was admitted.
B. — At 10.10 p.m. I was having supper when the waitress rushed into
the dining room and said all Patrick Street was on fire. I finished supper
and went upstairs to a window at the top of the hotel and saw a great fire
burning in the direction of Patrick Street.
C. — At 10.20 p.m. approximately, thirteen or fourteen men came from
Summerhill direction and went down King Street. Two of the number
were dressed in Auxiliary R.I.C. uniforms, one man in a grey lounge suit
and wearing no cap or hat; the remainder wore the regular uniform of a
R.I.C. constable. All except the man in civilian clothes were armed with
rifles or revolvers, four or five of the number carried oil tins.
D. — Some time after they had passed a large explosion occurred and the
fires in Patrick Street seemed to extend more. As time went on a series of
small explosions could be heard, followed by rifle or revolver shots and an
occasional burst of machine gun fire.
E. — From 11 p.m. onwards Auxiliaries and "Black and Tans," also
R.I.C, came up King Street from Bridge Street direction, laden with suit
cases, travelling rugs, coats, and hats, and proceeded towards Summerhill.
These came and returned in batches. As it got later the majority of the
men I saw were drunk and some staggered very much.
During the night the flames seemed to spread to other houses. There
was little more to be seen except men of the Auxiliary Force and R.I.C.
pass under the window, all laden with loot. So I retired to bed at approxi-
mately 2.30 a.m.
Sworn Statement of Mr. P., Fireman, U.S.S. "West Canon." The Scene
from the Victoria Hotel. A Drunken Sergeant
A. — I remember the night of December 11, 1920. Coming from the
South Main Street in company with Messrs. Q., R., S., T., of U.S.S. "West
Canon," and W., of Cork, we proceeded to the Victoria Hotel through
Oliver Plunkett Street and up Cook Street.
As we were turning the corner of Oliver Plunkett Street up Cook Street
a woman spoke to us and said, "For God's sake do not go up that way as
the 'Black and Tans' are at the corner of Robert Street and Patrick
Street." With the exception of a few civilians standing in doorways in
Oliver Plunkett Street, she was the only person in sight.
We went down Cook Street to the hotel, and at the corner of Cook
Street and Patrick Street one civilian said, "Here they come," or some such
word, and he went down Cook Street to Oliver Plunkett Street as fast as he
could. Arriving at Patrick Street I looked down towards Robert Street
and noticed from eight to twelve men in uniform, dressed in long dark
overcoats and carrying short carbines. They were proceeding in our
direction along Patrick Street. »
We went to the hotel door which was closed and we rang the bell. At
that time these uniformed men had stopped halfway between Robert Street
and Cook Street. The door was by this time opened and we were admitted.
This was exactly at 9.50 p.m.
B. — We went into the billiard room and I was there until 10.20 p.m.,
when I retired to bed, and was notified at that time by the porter that
Grant's was on fire. I went up to the top floor and looked out of the win-
dow at the fire. I then went to bed, my room (No. 9) overlooking Cook
Street, and remained there about half-an-hour ; and by that time the fire
at the block between Robert Street and Cook Street was well alight.
I stayed in bed until a very violent explosion took place which shook
the building. I got out of bed, this was about 11 p.m. or 11.5 p.m. Dur-
ing this time that I was in bed I heard a number of motor lorries pass by,
and heard rifle and revolver shots interspersed with explosions.
C. — I went to the window on the top floor overlooking Patrick Street
and saw from twenty to thirty soldiers, some dressed in the ordinary khaki
uniform, with trench helmets, and others dressed in black overcoats, wear-
ing round khaki caps, around the fire in front of Grant's. At the same time
1 saw two motor lorries on the street, opposite the Victoria Hotel, and also
a group of officers, numbering up to twelve, dressed in officers' khaki uni-
forms with "Sam Brown" belts, some wearing tasselled khaki caps, and
others the ordinary military caps. They carried automatic revolvers in
their hands, were talking very loudly, and were making much noise; this
group were to the right of the lorry. They appeared very excited and
intoxicated. This was at 11.5 p.m. I saw the firemen engaging with the
D. — At about 12.30 a.m. the bell of the hotel was ringing. I heard
John, the porter, ask, "Who's there?" I did not hear the answer, but
heard banging at the door. John then shouted to us Americans to come
down. We did so, and at that time S. was trying to get the Military Bar-
racks on the 'phone. He failed. Those at the door were admitted and they
proceeded into the pantry, where a few drinks were served to them. I
heard the sergeant of those men, who were policemen, give his name as
T. They were armed with carbines. The manager and one of Wool-
worth's staff were present, and Sergeant T. pointed his carbine at the latter
and commanded him to sing. He refused although threatened. The
sergeant was very intoxicated. He pulled out a box of very expensive
cigarettes and distributed them among the men there. They then went
out on the street and remained outside the hotel door for some time. After
that I saw no one on the streets but military.
I busied myself around the hotel helping wherever I could to prevent
the building going on fire. At 5 a.m. I retired to bed.
Sworn Statement of Mr. Q., Boatswain, U.S.S. "West Canon"
I remember the night of December 11, 1920.
A.— Accompanied by Messrs. R., S., T., and P., of U.S.S. "West Canon,"
and W., Cork, I went into Victoria Hotel, Patrick Street, exactly at
We just got in when we saw about ten or twelve men dressed in long
black overcoats and black peak caps, and carrying rifles in their hands,
opposite the Munster Arcade. They were coming in mob fashion towards
B. — We were inside about half-an-hour when the night porter stated
that Grant's was on fire. I went to the window on the top floor and saw
Messrs. Grant's on fire. I went down again to the billiard room.
About half-an-hour later I left the billiard room and on the second floor
I saw through a window that the opposite block of buildings in Cook Street,
Messrs. Forrest's, Egan's, &c, were in a mass of flames. Soon the whole
block was on fire.
C. — About 12 midnight I went to bed on the second floor. I was
awakened by a call from Mr. R., and on getting up I saw the portion of
the Victoria Hotel adjoining Cook Street, windows, window frames, doors,
&c, alight, and preparations being made by laying down hose in the corri-
dors, &c, to save the place from fire.
Downstairs I heard loud banging at the Patrick Street entrance, and
great commotion and banging. I heard Mr. S. trying to get the military
barracks on the telephone, but he failed to get any answer.
D. — Then John, the hotel porter, called the Americans to come down.
We came down; we were met by a sergeant and two policemen dressed in
long dark overcoats and black peak caps, armed with short carbines. The
sergeant was intoxicated and was swinging his carbine in all directions, and
threatening to shoot everyone. In my presence he threatened to shoot the
proprietor. I tried to placate him, and succeeded in calming him. He
said to me, "My name is T ."
The two other policemen were sober, and their conduct was quite gentle-
manly. They told us they would notify us if the fire in the Victoria became
dangerous, and would provide means for our safety. They then left. We
kept busy until about 5 a.m., assisting with hose, &c, when I went to bed
again. During that time I heard quite a few explosions.
When I got up in the morning I saw the destruction wrought all round
E. — From 9.50 p.m. I had not seen a single citizen on Patrick Street,
with the exception of one woman, who advised us not to go up Patrick
Street as the "Black and Tans" were everywhere. Just as we entered the
Victoria I saw none but Crown Forces.
I solemnly affirm and swear that the foregoing testimony is to the best
of my knowledge and ability the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
the truth. So help me God.
Sworn Statement of R., Third Assistant Engineer, U.S.S. "West Canon"
I remember the night of December 11, 1920. I was in company with
Messrs. Q., S., P., and T., of U.S.S. "West Canon," and with W., of Cork
City. What I witnessed is substantially the same as laid down in the sworn
testimonies of P. and Q.
I swear that the above statement is to the best of my knowledge and
ability the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me
Mr. W. Corroborates. A Drunken Sergeant
"At Your Peril Don't Turn the Hose on that Fire"
I, the undersigned, do make the following statement voluntarily, and do
solemnly declare that it is the truth, to the best of my knowledge and
A. — I remember the night of December 11, 1920. At 9.40 p.m. I walked
down Cook Street from Oliver Plunkett Street and halted at the Victoria
Hotel. With me were Messrs. P., T., S., R., Americans, of U.S.S. "Canon,"
then lying at South Jetties, Cork. We saw from eight to twelve uniformed men
opposite Munster Arcade, coming in a group towards the Victoria Hotel.
We hastily asked admittance to the Victoria, and were immediately ad-
mitted. We went to the billiard room.
B. — At 10.5 p.m. on going to the door in Patrick Street, I saw Messrs.
Grant's premises well ablaze. On the opposite side of the street to the
Victoria, at least five men in R.I.C. uniform were walking up and down.
I could see no one else.
C. — It was near 10.30 p.m. when I looked out of one of the hotel win-
dows and saw three R.I.C. uniformed men at the hotel door. Two of them
levelled their carbines at me, and I retreated. After loud knocking at the
door, they were admitted, one sergeant and two constables, the sergeant
being very drunk. They said they came to warn us of the danger the hotel
stood in from the adjacent fires.
The sergeant went into a back kitchen, beckoned to me, and I stood
drinks (whiskies). After threatening Mr. D., my friend, with his carbine,
for not singing, the sergeant turned to me and cross-examined me. I lied
plausibly, every chance or loophole I saw, as he was dangerous, even to the
extent that my father was a policeman, &c. He thereupon shook hands
with me, and pulling me aside, said, "Where's the b manager of this
place? Don't you know he's a German?" "I don't know what his
nationality is," said I, "and if he is a German it's not his fault. He is
working hard upstairs." "By ," said he, swearing horribly, "I joined
the army from the R.I.C, during the war, and I know what the Ger-
mans did." He put his carbine up, and said determinedly, "I am going to
take that 's life to-night." I pleaded and remonstrated, but he was
mad with determination. I put the carbine down, and diverted his mind
from the subject by standing him more drink. (Drink that night cost me
£2, very little of which was spent in drink for myself.)
D. — The sergeant and two constables left about 11.15 p.m., and about
an hour afterwards they returned to the hotel door. The two constables
entered, but I saw them level their carbines at the sergeant and forbade
him entering the place, which he did not. The constables remained for a
drink or two.
E. — A little after midnight, Egan's and Forrest's were well ablaze, and
the windows of the Victoria Hotel, in Cook Street, were beginning to catch
fire. Mr. D. and I went out to Cook Street, with the hotel hose, and played
water on the windows. Swinging round on me, somehow, the hose played
on Forrest's fire for an instant, and an R.I.C. man in uniform shouted to
me from the corner of Cook Street and Patrick Street, "At your peril, don't
turn the hose on that fire. Let it blaze."
F. — While playing water on the Victoria Hotel windows, in Cook Street,
a Crossley car full of military came up Cook Street and turned around For-
rest's corner into Patrick Street. As they did we heard shots, as if they had
fired into the burning buildings.
G. — Only soldiers and R.I.C. men were on the streets up to five or six
a.m. on Sunday, the soldiers helping the people here and there to get their
household goods, &c, to a place of safety, from the encroaching flames.
H. — From 10 p.m. on Saturday, until 5 a.m. on Sunday, with the excep-
tion of those people who had to leave their homes for safety, and the firemen,
I saw only Crown forces on the streets.
The Drunken Sergeant Again. "We'll Finish Old Cork"
I, the undersigned, make the following statement voluntarily, and do
solemnly declare that it is the truth, to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A. — I remember the night of December 11. At 9.30 p.m. I entered the
Victoria Hotel, Patrick Street ; the street was completely deserted.
B. — Shortly after 10 p.m. I saw a large fire in the direction of Grant's.
About 10.30 p.m. a drunken R.I.C. sergeant and two constables came in to
warn us about the fires. The sergeant asked me who I was, where I came
from, and where I worked, &c, and I told him. Later, in a little back
kitchen, where the police and ourselves were having a drink, the sergeant
said to me, "You're the fellow from Dublin?" I said, "Yes." He said,
"Do you know the song 'The Martyr of the Coombe' ?" (The Coombe is
a celebrated Dublin quarter.) I said, "No." He put his carbine up, point-
ing it at me, six inches away from my face. Some civilian put the carbine
down, and to the remonstrances of him and the two constables the sergeant
again became quiet.
C. — About 11 p.m., I was overlooking Patrick Street from an attic win-
dow of the hotel. I could not see the street immediately below, but could
see to the left and right. I heard glass smashing, and immediately after-
wards a bomb explode to my right in Patrick Street. After a little silence,
I heard from the same direction a voice, in a decided English accent, say,
"We'll finish old Cork," and immediately afterwards another bomb
exploded. We all got to the back of the building for safety, as I could see
the Munster Arcade starting to blaze.
D. — After midnight, when Mr. W. and myself were playing the
hotel hose from Cook Street on the hotel windows to prevent the Victoria
catching fire, a light military lorry came up Cook Street, and I shouted,
"Mind out, don't run over the hose." They slowed down, while we got
the hose out of the way, and as they turned around Forrest's corner I heard
shots fired, presumably by them. Afterwards, a military officer came up to
me, and asked me what I was doing with the hose. I replied that I was
doing my best to confine the fire, and he left, saying in a genial manner,
"Cheerio, and good luck to you."
E. — Soldiers many times helped people to draw away furniture from
their threatened homes. With the exception of these people and the fire-
men, the only person I saw on the streets from 10 p.m. on Saturday, to 5
or 6 a.m. on Sunday, were Crown forces.
How the Curfew Report was Concocted
(This witness is a responsible professional man.)
A. — I was staying in a hotel in the flat of the- city on the night of the
fire, December 11, 1920. At 1.30 a.m. I was called out to assist in checking
the fires around Patrick Street, and in saving people and property. I was
at the Imperial Hotel, at intervals, the remainder of the time I was on the
streets, until 8 a.m. on Sunday morning. While on the streets, I noticed
the following about 1.45 a.m. : I came in contact with an Auxiliary at the
G.P.O. (General Post Office). He was a man of about six feet, well-built,
clean-shaven, wearing a brown waterproof coat, khaki riding breeches, long
grey stockings and shoes. He held me up and asked me why I was out,
&c, and then he turned to make friends with drunken women wearing
shawls. He was foolishly drunk, and with a revolver in his hand was
threatening every civilian who came in contact with him.
B. — Seeing I was in danger I retired to the Imperial Hotel and stayed
in the vestibule for about an hour. I came out with a man dressed in a
military uniform, of good build, rather stout, and clean-shaven. In the
course of conversation he told me that he was in charge of the Auxiliaries,
that some of his men had been ambushed, and that they (the attackers)
messed with the wrong men, as most of them were Colonials who had seen
too much of this kind of thing. I noticed he was perfectly sober.
C. — Some of the Auxiliaries worked hard and so did some of the "Black
and Tans," but most of them were drunk and were frequently firing re-
volver shots. One Auxiliary, who worked very hard, was a small chap,
wearing civilian clothes. In the course of conversation with him in the
morning, he told me he was "dead out" from the hose. While he was
asleep I noticed all his clothes were both wet and dirty.
D. — While in a room in the Imperial Hotel I could conclude from the
conversation between the Auxiliaries and some lady friends that they (the
Auxiliaries) had burned the place. One lady told one of them that it was a
shame for them to destroy the fine city. They all seemed to be of the
opinion that it deserved its fate, and only treated the whole affair as a joke.
One of them remarked that the thing was carried too far, and to use his
own words said, "There would be hell to pay over it."
E. — At about 2.30 or 3 o'clock, while in Winthrop Street, I saw a nian
who appeared to be a responsible military curfew officer come up to the
man who told me he was in charge of the Auxiliaries and say to him, "What
report are we going to make about to-night ?" And there and then the two
of them made up an ordinary curfew report to the effect that the Crown
forces had found buildings burning, that the fire brigade had been telephoned
for, and that the curfew troops stood by to render what assistance they
Auxiliaries Good and Bad
A. — I was staying in a hotel in the flat of the city on the night of the
fire (Saturday, December 11, 1920), and was on the streets from about mid-
night to 5.15 a.m. on Sunday morning, helping at a hose, removing furni-
ture, &c. Whilst at this work I came across several members of the Crown
forces. Several Auxiliary policemen and "Black and Tans" were walking
about (the majority of them drunk), with revolvers drawn. Their attitude
was most threatening, as they on several occasions held up people (includ-
ing myself) and demanded to know why we were out. Two Auxiliaries
deserve special mention in this respect. One was a man of about 5 ft.
10 ins., well-built, clean-shaven, of gentlemanly appearance, and wearing a
kind of a brown rubber motoring coat and tam-o'-shanter. I was told (by
the big Auxiliary mentioned later on) that he was an ex-major in the army.
This man was very drunk, and as he was in the vicinity of the Post Office
all night (till about 5 a.m.), he was a constant menace. The other was a
man of medium height and build, and, as well as I can remember, was wear-
ing a khaki suit and khaki skull cap (or tam-o'-shanter). I saw him fire a shot
into the hall of a house in Caroline Street from which two men were emerg-
ing. I saw him put one of the men against the wall, and the man told me
afterwards that he had a revolver to his temple ready to shoot, when some-
thing else attracted his attention. I saw him then going off * with a
"shawlie," and to this I am sure the man owes his life. This man was a
very evil-looking type, with a diseased face, receding forehead, and a low-
B. — The ordinary soldiers behaved well, as a rule, and some of them
gave great help in removing furniture from houses. The officers also be-
haved pretty decently. One of them, I believe he was a major in charge,
was most anxious to stop the fires. I noticed two Auxiliaries, especially,
who worked all night putting out the fires in Old George's Street. One of
them was a small, slight, pale-faced, dark chap. He was wearing civilian
clothes and had no hat or cap on. The other was a powerful-looking man,
of about six feet, wearing a civilian suit, with a policeman's great coat and
a black tam-o'-shanter. In the course of conversation I ascertained his
name. I heard him threatening to shoot two "Black and Tans" who had
loot. He was most sympathetic to everybody who came to him for help,
and both himself and the small chap were drenched to the skin as the result
of their work.
C. — I may mention that in the course of conversation with the Auxiliary
in the rubber coat, he admitted that it was the Auxiliaries who burnt the
town. As far as I can remember these were the words he used : "'Tis we
have done this and it was right to do it" (or "We know why we have done
it"), but damn the houses, we want to save the women and children."
Auxiliaries and Police Loot Drink and Money and Assault People
"Give Us More Matches and Petrol this Way"
A.— I remember the night of December 11, 1920. About 10.30 p.m.,
while undressing at my room in , I heard motor lorries going up and
down Patrick Street. At 11 p.m. I was looking out of one of the top
windows, overlooking Winthrop Street, towards the fires in the direction of
Grant's and the Munster Arcade. I heard the tramp of men, and noticed
about twenty men come down Winthrop Street from the direction of the Post
Office. The majority of them were dressed in the Auxiliary Police uniform
with Glengarry caps and khaki tunics, others were R.I.C. men in uniform,
not of the regular type, and some were in plain clothes with light mackintosh
overcoats. A large number of this party wore masks on their faces, that is,
mufflers around their mouths and noses.
When the party came opposite I saw some of them stop, look up at the
name of the place, and exclaim, "This is it ! This is it !" The accent was
strange to me. Some of them rushed for the hall door leading to the
restaurant, others rushed to the door of the bar, and commenced hammering
with some heavy instruments until they smashed the bar-door. In answer
to their cries of "Come down and let us in," Miss X. and Miss Y. came
down and opened the door. I had just come down from the top floor, and
met Miss X., Miss Y., and the party coming up.
About six Auxiliaries with Glengarry caps rushed into the bedrooms and
sitting-room on the first floor, shouting, "Come down at once." They each
held a revolver in the right hand and a revolver in the left. They went
through the whole house in this manner, and all of us, men and women, were
ordered out on Winthrop Street ; with the exception of two or three of them
who were on Winthrop Street, the remainder of the party were inside in the
bar, shouting and roaring, drinking and breaking bottles.
I heard the money register in the bar ringing, and immediately knew
they were rifling the contents (on my return to the bar a half an hour after-
wards, I found the contents, viz., £1 in each of the three registers, small
change left each night for convenience the following morning, gone).
B. — After about five minutes on the street, one Auxiliary, who seemed to
be an officer and in charge, wearing a Glengarry cap and khaki tunic, about
six feet and well built, blew a whistle, and immediately the men in the bar
came out on the street, and the men upstairs in the hotel came down. The
whole party now gathered were armed with rifles and revolvers. The
majority were now intoxicated.
C. — The same officer then ordered the women, numbering, Mrs. Y, her
daughter, and the three girls, also Mrs. Y.'s young son, to get inside the hall.
He then ordered A, C, and myself, who were the only ones left in the street,
to put our backs up against the front door of the house. He spoke with a
foreign accent. At this, a very desperate looking Auxiliary, wearing a
Glengarry cap, medium sized, clean shaven, khaki tunic, his face looking
very disease marked, stepped forward from the party with a revolver in his
right hand. He put the revolver touching A's breast (left breast) and said,
"Are you a Sinn Feiner?" He was sober but seemed to be in a terrible
passion. His accent was foreign. A said, "I am not. I don't take any
part in politics." He then asked, "Who are you ?" He gave his name and
told him he was working in . He asked him was he belonging to the
I.R.A., and he said he was not. He then said, "Be sure you tell me the
truth, or I'll stick one of those through your heart," at the same time pulling
the trigger to and fro with his finger. He plied A with many such questions
as to what he knew of Dillon's Cross ambush, &c, when one of his party
shouted, "He's all right. I know his face."
He then passed on to me and plied me with the same questions he had
put to A. During some of the questions, he pressed his revolver into my
left breast, and as we heard the sound of a bomb going off in Patrick's Street
he said to me, "It would be a good job if one of them went off in your pocket
and blew you up."
He then passed on to C, who was so young that someone of the party
shouted, "He is too young. Let him off." He then went back to the party.
D. — The officer in charge (mentioned before) then ordered us down into
the Imperial Hotel, including the women. We had all gone as far as the
Post Office when some of them shouted to us to come back again. As we
were going towards the Imperial Hotel, two of the men dressed in R.I.C.
uniform ran after us and attempting to kick me, missed, but kicked A.
several times. Coming back in response to their call, we were ordered
upstairs, and we remained there until about twelve o'clock.
E. — While inside, I looked out through the top window overlooking Win-
throp Street, several times. At about 11.45 p.m. a party of Auxiliaries and
Police, which I took to be the same party, numbering up to 20, crossed the
end of Winthrop Street from the direction of the Munster Arcade, towards
Cash's. The majority of them wore Glengarry caps with khaki tunics, others
wore policemen's caps, while some were in civilian clothes with light rain-
coats. As they passed the top of Winthrop Street, I distinctly heard a few
of them saying, "Give us more matches and petrol this way." The accent
was foreign to me. I then heard the battering on and pulling down of
shutters and the smashing of glass at Cash's. There was a lot of noise and
talking in this direction.
I went to one of the top back windows and saw flames coming from the
back portion of Cash's and smoke enveloping the building.
F. — About twelve midnight I heard heavy knocking at the door, and
when the door was opened about five men in Auxiliary uniform told us to
get out, and go to the Imperial Hotel for safety. Their accents were foreign.
The top of Winthrop Street at Cash's corner was a mass of flames. While
on our way to the Imperial, I turned back and got a bottle of brandy in the
bar. While there, two Auxiliaries came to the door and told me to get out
quick. The accents were foreign. I then proceeded to the Imperial Hotel.
While going in I was held up and searched by an Auxiliary with the air
and appearance of an officer. He was very drunk, and a revolver was
dangling from his belt by a cord. While in the vestibule for about forty-five
minutes I saw many Auxiliaries come in and go out. They were all armed
with revolvers. They were cool and not drunk.
G. — With Mrs. Y. I then left, the time being about 12.45 a.m., and went
back. A military officer, tall, clean-shaven, was with us there, and did much
good work in saving our block of buildings from the fire. He helped in
getting down the fire brigade and assisted at the hose. He told me he was
a military captain, and that his brother was killed in the ambush at Dillon's
Cross. He deeply regretted the burnings and assured us of his assistance.
H. — About 2 a.m. Sunday, I saw from the door that there were soldiers
on guard on Winthrop Street at both ends and along the street as well. I saw
one soldier walk up to Tyler's boot shop and deliberately break the window
with the butt of his rifle. This soldier was dressed in ordinary "Tommy"
uniform. I saw him take from the window a number of pairs of boots.
While he was there four or five women and one civilian came and looted
many pairs of boots. This soldier seemed engrossed with his own loot, and
did not interfere. The civilian returned and carried away more boots
several times afterwards and was never interfered with by the soldiers who
could see all that was going on.
I. — About 3 a.m. I brought some of the firemen into the bar to give them
a stimulant. Some Auxiliaries, police, plain-clothes men in light
mackintoshes, with strange accents, came into the bar from time to time for
drinks. One of these latter told me he was a Scotsman. He had a child's
toy under his arm. One policeman with a Scotch or Northern accent left
a large Christmas stocking behind him on the counter, and another policeman
with a like accent left a pair of underpants. I still have these articles wait-
ing to return them to their rightful owners. 1 Some of thes e police,
1 These articles have since been identified and restored to the owners, Messrs. Power
Bros., drapers and tailors.
Auxiliaries, and plain-clothes men with strange accents demanded bottles of
whiskey. In fear I complied with each demand. I received no money in
J. — About 8.30, while I was trying to gain admittance to the Imperial
Hotel, nine in number of Auxiliaries were firing revolver shots indiscrimi-
nately in Pembroke Street, there were also about three or four soldiers, and
they seemed to be arguing with one another. The firing lasted about three
minutes while I was standing at the Imperial door. An Auxiliary, who
seemed to be in command, then ordered all the Auxiliaries into the garage in
Pembroke Street, at the point of the revolver, saying, "Get in, or I'll blow
your brains out." All of them, including himself, were very drunk.
K. — Being refused admittance to the Imperial Hotel, I came back to
A.'s and worked at the hose, &c, till morning. At times I gave some of
the soldiers on duty in Winthrop Street some stimulants but many more of
them demanded it from me.
During the night, shots and explosions were going all the time. I did not
notice any Auxiliaries on Winthrop Street after about 3.30 p.m. The
majority of the soldiers were drunk about 4 a.m. onwards.
I,. — About 7 a,m., after working hard at the hose to the rear of John
Daly's, Caroline Street, I was coming up Winthrop Street when I saw a
young soldier in "Tommy" uniform and trench helmet, very drunk and
showing his rifle to a youngster. I heard him exclaim as he pushed a bullet
home in the rifle breech, "This is one more for the So-and-so's." With that
he turned round. I was just at the corner of Winthrop Lane, and the rifle
rested on my left breast. I said to myself, "If this goes off I'm shot," and
quickly turned it to one side. He pulled the trigger, and a shot immediately
My arm being in contact with the barrel of the rifle, I got a great
shock and fell to the ground. After a few seconds I got to my feet and
rushed towards the door where I fell again. I crawled in the hall door and
upstairs where several people came in to see was I shot. I swooned for a
few minutes, and got all right again, nothing the worse of my experience.
After a cup of tea I remained working in the streets until 10.30 a.m.
Nothing exceptional happened during that time.
Auxiliaries Loot, Drink, and Bully
A.— I remember the night of December 11, 1920. It was a night never
to be forgotten. About 11 o'clock a crowd of Auxiliary police came along
Winthrop Street and stood outside this house, shouting, "This is it !"
B. — They then knocked violently at the door. X. and Y. went immedi-
ately to open it. They still kept shouting to open. During that time some
of them had burst in the bar door and started breaking bottles and glasses
until they were fully satisfied, leaving it a total wreck. Some of them car-
ried portmanteaus, and filled them with bottles of drink, which they took
away with them.
C. — As soon as the girls had opened the door, they were covered with
revolvers and told to clear out. About a dozen rushed upstairs and ordered
us all out at once, and the boys to stand against the wall. Three or four
of those were dressed in plain clothes and scarves pulled over their faces.
All spoke with an English accent. Every room in the house was searched.
D. — When we went out there were some more on duty outside the door
and standing at the bar door, one of these being a "Black and Tan" ; he
had a few bottles of whisky under his arm. A., B., and C. were standing
against the wall. They were asked their names and if they belonged to the
I.R.A. Seeing C. was too young they let him off. The two other boys
came in for a hard time. They were treated most cruelly and were told
they would be in eternity in a moment.
E. — During this time we were standing outside the door, but were told
to clear off quickly. I asked one of the men where would we go to ; he
answered very roughly, saying he didn't care where we went to. Another
told us to go to the Imperial Hotel. We then started off and were at the
G.P.O. when they shouted at us to come back and get into the house again,
but the boys were to remain at the wall. After some time they were thrown
inside the door and told to clear. Half-an-hour after that all had to pack
up and clear for safety as fire was all round us.
F. — It was about one o'clock when we went to the Imperial, and we
remained there until morning. During my stay there I noticed that several
of those men made frequent visits, and most of them were under the influ-
ence of drink. One in particular was swinging a revolver in his hand, and
searched several men going into the place.
Poiice Set Fire to the Minister Arcade
I, X. Y., make the following statement voluntarily, and so solemnly
affirm on oath that it is the truth to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A. — I remember the night of December 11, 1920. From 7.30 p.m. until
9 p.m., when I arrived at my home — George's Street, "Black and Tan"
police displayed great activity all round the flat of the city, firing shots,
halting people, shouting, &c. At 9.30 p.m. A.B. joined me at
my home. From 9.30 p.m. firing in the flat of the city became more intense,
and there were many explosions.
B. — Shortly after 10.30 p.m. I noticed about ten women and girls,
probably one or two men included, emerge from Cash's door leading into
Maylor Street, and bearing large bundles, some with blankets around them
went down Maylor Street towards Parnell Place.
C. — In or about 11 p.m. I saw four uniformed R.I.C. policemen, armed
with rifles, and three civilians, come on George's Street from Robert Street
(seemingly after coming from Patrick Street). There was no one else in
George's Street. They fired some shots and several bombs, the shots pre-
sumably to frighten away watchers from the adjacent windows, and the
bombs to wreck the hoarding around the Munster Arcade. This hoarding
they attacked with crowbars or some such instruments like them. I heard
at this time the noise of a motor cycle travelling from the South Mall direc-
tion and stopping in or around Robert Street. Immediately after, I saw
the police and men in civilian attire, throw tins of something (in or about
the size of a two-gallon petrol tin) into the Munster Arcade, and a few
minutes afterwards the whole place was in a blaze. The police and
the men in civilian attire then proceeded up George's (Oliver Plunkett)
Street towards the Grand Parade.
D. — About midnight, I saw people leaving their homes in Caroline Street,
and taking with them personal effects, for safety from the encroaching
flames. With A. B., I left my house to help as best I could, and we were
out until 4.45 a.m. on Sunday morning. During this time we were fired at
by "Black and Tans" in uniform, at about 12.15 a.m., and fled for safety.
We helped here and there, and saw Auxiliaries, "Black and Tans," and
soldiers nearly always in a drunken condition. Two "Black and Tans"
did good work with fire-hose, &c, around FitzGerald's, Oliver Plunkett
E. — At one time, about 3 a.m., I saw a soldier in uniform and trench
helmet, with rifle, at the corner of Caroline Street, showing some girls
articles of jewellery, including two gentlemen's and two ladies' gold watches,
a silver cigarette case, which he was filling with packets of Woodbines
(cigarettes), a miniature silver rifle, and also two bottles of wine. He said
to the girls that he got them in a shop near Patrick's Bridge.
F. — Between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., we saw soldiers wearing trench helmets
and uniforms loot John Daly's, wine merchants, Caroline Street, emerging
from time to time with pockets and arms full of bottles, threatening to shoot
people in their drunken condition, seemingly under no control.
G. — About 3 a.m., near FitzGerald's, Oliver Plunkett Street, we heard
a military officer, in uniform and trench helmet, with a revolver, perfectly
sober, state to a number of men and women, "I'd shoot a Shinner every
hour, but I wouldn't burn down his house."
H. — About 1 a.m., while at the corner of Cash's, with a lot of civilians,
and talking to two soldiers, two "Black and Tans," in R.I.C. overcoats,
khaki trousers, R.I.C. caps, and carbines, crossed over from Lester's (in
Patrick Street) and told us to get home quickly, as the Auxiliaries were in
a bad humour, as seven or eight of their fellows had been ambushed at
Dillon's Cross, and they didn't care whom they'd shoot.
I, A. B., make the following statement voluntarily, and do solemnly
affirm on oath that it is true to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A. — I left Emmett Place, about 8.45 p.m., and on account of the inces-
sant fire in the neighbourhood of the General Post Office, it was only after
the third attempt that I managed to get safely home, at 9.15 p.m.
B.— I was with X. Y. (No. 41) all the night of December 11, from 9.20
p.m. on Saturday night till 5 a.m. on Sunday morning, and after hearing
the statement read over to me, I corroborate it in every respect and detail,
with the following addition.
C. — Shortly before 1 a.m. on Sunday, December 12, we saw an armoured
car and two lorries full of soldiers, with trench helmets, &c, halt outside
Pulvertaft's, Lower Oliver Plunkett Street. They broke an entrance into
it, and after about eight minutes inside they left again, and drove down
Oliver Plunkett Street, turning into Parnell Place in the direction of Parnell's
Auxiliaries and Police Carry their Loot to Union Quay
Auxiliaries Blame the "Black and Tans." "Hide the Loot"
We, the undersigned, A., B., and C, make the following statement
voluntarily, and do solemnly and sincerely declare on oath that it is the truth
to the best of our knowledge and ability.
A. — "We remember the night of December 11, 1920. We were putting up
the shutters of our premises situate in the centre of the city at 8.45 p.m.
We saw a lorry full of Auxiliary police with Glengarry caps pull up in
Pembroke Street, opposite Lucy's shop there. They started searching all
passers-by, lining them up against the wall of the General Post Office with
their hands over their heads. They were roaring, and firing indiscriminatcly
all round the street. We dropped the shutters on the ground and ran inside
for safety of our lives, and bolted the doors.
We went upstairs, and saw through the windows people excitedly fleeing
in all directions, and heard the whizzing of shots all round us. The whole
place was soon deserted, and after some time things were quiet.
B. — At 9.50 p.m. we made from the shop towards Patrick Street, intending
to get to a place of safety close by for the night. As we reached Cash's
corner we saw a young girl coming towards us in a very excited condition.
She told us for the love of God not to go any further as they were breaking
into Mangan's jewellery shop and were firing in all directions. No sooner
had she spoken than we heard a shot near us. We retreated to the premises
again and stayed there for the night. This was at 9.50 p.m.
C— Just after 10 p.m. we (A. and B.) saw five or six men, some of them
wearing Glengarry caps and waterproof coats, others of them wearing R.I.C.
caps, come down Winthrop Street and proceed down Pembroke Street to
the South Mall. They were laden with large new portmanteaus, so full with
stuff that several articles (like woollen scarves) were hanging out of them.
They all carried revolvers in their hands. One of them was dressed in civilian
attire and had a bundle of stuff under his right arm, a portmanteau in his
right hand, and a revolver in his left hand.
D. — About 10.15 p.m. we saw a flare in the sky from the direction,
seemingly, of the Munster Arcade or Grant's. A few minutes later — that is,
about 10.20 p.m. — we (A. and B.) saw a body of men, numbering about
fourteen or fifteen, come down Pembroke Street from the direction of the
South Mall. They were similar to those who had gone up Pembroke Street
with the loot just after 10 p.m. They were preceded on this occasion by a
man dressed in a mackintosh and light grey cap, and carrying a revolver in
his hand. He ran around the corner of the General Post Office sharply and
looked up and down Oliver Plunkett Street and up at the windows of the
houses near by ; he was probably reconnoitring. They went down Winthrop
E. — A taxi came from the direction of the garage in Pembroke Street and
followed the party down Winthrop Street. About five or ten minutes after-
wards the party returned laden with suit-cases and portmanteaus, some of
which appeared heavy, as if containing some goods.
F. — We looked out through the back windows and saw flames in the
vicinity of the Munster Arcade. This was just after 10.30 p.m. About
11 p.m. we heard the noise of iron bars being pulled out and glass being
smashed in the vicinity of Cash's. A terrible explosion soon followed, which
shook the premises where we were. The explosion appeared to have occurred
near Cash's, and soon afterwards we saw Cash's in names, even to the back.
We could hear sharp, commanding words being spoken amid the babel of
voices, shouting, &c.
G. — Up to one o'clock on Sunday morning we were afraid to venture out,
as shots, explosions, &c, were being discharged continuously. At 1 a.m. we
left our premises, as we could see that the fire from Cash's was coming nearer,
and we could see people from adjoining premises clearing their premises and
leaving them for safety. We were no sooner out than we heard a loud shout :
" Get indoors," spoken in a foreign accent. A shot immediately followed
from the direction of the voice (Pembroke Street), and we got indoors again.
H. — It was near 1.30 a.m. when we again went out. We went down
Oliver Plunkett Street to look at the Munster Arcade fire. People around
were busy withdrawing household effects, &c, from the danger zone. We
went into Patrick Street to see the conflagrations. The Munster Arcade,
Cash's, and adjoining property, were a mass of flames. A military lorry was
stationed near Luke Burke's, police were lining the walls opposite Cash's,
and elsewhere, and soldiers were on duty on the streets. We noticed a few
Auxiliaries with Glengarry caps, holding revolvers, walking about. A group
of girls were speaking to a " Black and Tan " (he was not of the regular type
of policeman) on duty, in uniform, opposite Cash's. Drawing near to him
for safety from stray bullets, he said to us : " Clear off the streets, as I don't
know what the Auxiliaries might do ; some of their comrades were shot."
He was armed with a rifle. We came down Winthrop Street and remained
near the General Post Office for some time, helping here and there.
I. — We again proceeded towards Cash's, the time being now about
3.30 a.m. We saw Power's window smashed. Coming back almost
immediately we saw a man of an officer type dressed in a sort of leather
motoring coat, opposite Power's. He wore a Glengarry cap, riding breeches,
and light grey long hose, revolver in hand. He was very drunk, and shouted :
" The first b I see looting, I'll shoot him dead." The accent was
English. We (A. and B.) hurried towards the General Post Office. Here we
saw an ordinary-sized man, dressed in blue trousers, ordinary civilian coat,
and wearing a trench helmet ; the time now being about 4.15 a.m., as the
mails were coming in. He said to the postman : " Get those mails in quick."
The accent was English. He said to us : " Your place is all right, Mr. ."
He said : " I'm soaking wet from the water." The fellow in the leather
coat joined him, and they conversed together for some time. A soldier was
playing a hose on the Crystal Bar.
J, — About half an hour later we (C. and B.) were passing Cash's, and we
saw two " Black and Tans " in uniform (one of whom I know to see) and who
had loot from Tyler's, a little under the influence of drink, fire a shot from a
revolver into Cash's, saying : " Still burning."
K. — Returning to the General Post Office corner, we saw an Auxiliary in
khaki tam-o'-shanter and long black overcoat, with a rifle, about 4.30 a.m.
Seeing two drunken policemen coming down Winthrop Street laden with
boots and shoes, presumably from Tyler's in Winthrop Street, the Auxiliary
said to them : " Hide the loot ; don't let people see it." They took no notice,
but went out of sight. I (B.) heard the Auxiliary then say to a group of
civilians near by : " The ' Black and Tans ' are doing the most of this class
of work. We are Auxiliaries, and there might be some black sheep in our
crowd, but we are blamed for all this."
L. — Shortly afterwards, five soldiers came out of Desmond's Hotel in a
very drunken condition. About 5 a.m. the lights around the place extin-
guished and we came back to our own premises. The Auxiliaries and " Black
and Tans " had vanished off the streets and only soldiers remained, presumably
on duty, but the majority in a drunken condition. At 7.30 a.m. we came
out and made for home.
Police Take Loot to Union Quay. Police Set Fire to the Minister Arcade
I, A. B., do hereby make the following statement voluntarily, and do
solemnly affirm on oath that it is true to the best of my knowledge and ability.
I am the proprietor of — Plunkett Street. On the night of December 11 I was
in occupation there. . . . Much shooting and explosions had taken place in
the flat of the city from 8.30 p.m. onwards.
A. — At 11.30 p.m. I was looking out of a window overlooking Robert
Street and saw two distinct batches of men, numbering five or six in each,
come from Patrick Street down Robert Street. They were all dressed in
R.I.C. uniform, and from their northern or Scotch accent I knew them not
to be the ordinary old R.I.C. Without exception they were all heavily laden
with suit-cases, boots, and other articles, and carried revolvers. Just entering
Oliver Plunkett Street from Robert Street, the first batch fired a few revolver
shots to frighten away onlookers from the windows. Both groups then
passed down Morgan Street to the South Mall.
B. — About ten minutes afterwards about twenty-five to thirty men, dressed
in R.I.C. uniform, with carbines, came down Oliver Plunkett Street from the
direction of Tuckey Street. From their build or walk some of them were old
members of the force ; but the majority of them were new. They all lined
up opposite the Munster Arcade. I saw them rushing across the street into
Elbow Lane. I then heard them breaking the door of the Munster Arcade
in Elbow Lane. I might mention that when I saw them fined up I saw a large
number of them with petrol cans in one hand. After the breaking of the
door I heard a bomb explode. Looking out, I saw that the Munster Arcade
had been set on fire and that the flames had in fact reached the Robert Street
side in the space of a few minutes.
C. — I then told X. that we should leave for safety. The constabulary
had moved down Elbow Lane towards Patrick Street. With hardly a
sufficiency of clothing X., Y., and myself left the house and got to a place
of safety. While leaving, the flames were so great that they singed our hair.
D. — About 1 a.m., Sunday, we made an attempt to come back to try and
save some effects, but had only reached Morgan Street when two men in
R.I.C. uniform, with revolvers, told us to go back or they would fire on us.
The accent was foreign — Scotch. We then went back.
E. — After a short time the cabinet side of the Munster Arcade took fire,
and the place where we now were stood in danger. A man dressed in black
uniform without belt, and wearing a tam-o'-shanter (black) cap, came and
directed us to leave for safety.
F. — We then put up at another place for safety, and remained there.
During the whole time, from 1.30 a.m. to about 6 a.m., constabulary were in
Oliver Plunkett Street all the time, firing indiscriminately and looting
wholesale. Later they appeared to be drunk.
A Resident in the Munster Arcade Tells How it was Set on Fire by R.I.C.
Under a Military Officer
(This has since been corroborated.)
I, the undersigned, hereby make the following statement voluntarily,
and do solemnly affirm on oath that it is the truth to the best of my know-
ledge and ability.
A. — From 9 p.m. onwards, or thereabouts, incessant rifle fire was going
on in the flat of the city. About 10 p.m. my attention was drawn by X.
to a fire in Patrick Street, in the direction of Grant's. I went to one of the
front windows overlooking Patrick Street, Y. being with me. We noticed
Grant's blazing fiercely, and a tram at the statue also blazing. Opposite
Grant's fire were about fifteen R.I.C. in uniform, carrying rifles ; a Crossley
tender ; and about twelve or fourteen soldiers in khaki and trench helmets.
The blaze from the fire enabled us to easily distinguish them. They were
merely gazing idly by.
B. — From the group of police opposite Grant's, police came slowly down
Patrick Street in twos and threes. Four or five of them went towards
Mangan's. I heard glass smash soon after in that direction, and a Ford
covered-in four-seater motor car came up Winthrop Street and stopped
near the statue. The Crossley tender then moved from opposite Grant's
in the direction of Patrick's Bridge. The police around Mangan's shouted
" cheerio " to the soldiers in the tender, and the soldiers similarly replied.
It was simultaneous with the smashing of more glass. People emerged
from some houses in or around Mangan's and went towards Simcox's, near
by, where they were admitted.
C. — I saw a group of police, numbering five or six, in uniform and with
rifles, go down Maylor Street from Patrick Street. I do not know whether
they came from Mangan's or not. The time would be roughly after
11 p.m. A few minutes afterwards I heard an explosion in the direction
of Maylor Street, and about three minutes afterwards a little bunch of
girls and men, carrying handbags and some clothes, came from Maylor Street
and went up Patrick Street in the direction of Winthrop Street.
D. — At this time there were three R.I.C, in uniform and with rifles,
directly underneath us at the corner of Robert Street, and we could hear the
noise of shutters falling and glass breaking, which we judge to be Messrs.
Burton's, tailors. Our view was cut off from the corner of Robert Street
to Cash's corner in Winthrop Street, and we could not see anything in that
E. — There was a shout then from the party that was, as we judged,
breaking Burton's : " The Munster Arcade next ! " The accent was
foreign, and seemed one of command. All our attention was then
concentrated on our own building, and we did not watch elsewhere.
Immediately, our shutters underneath were torn down, glass windows
smashed, and bombs commenced to explode beneath us in the warehouse.
F. — We went down below to gather the women and men together. When
this was done, one girl asked me to go upstairs for a suit of hers, which I did.
W T hen I came down they told me that the door in Elbow Lane was after
being fired through five or six times. I lifted the window overlooking that
door in Elbow Lane, and saw about nine R.I.C., in uniform, with rifles and
revolvers, and one man in military officer's khaki uniform and R.I.C. cap,
with a revolver in his hand. I said to them, " There are women in the
house." The officer said, " Hands up ! " in an English accent. I told
him I had the key of the door, and he said, " Come down and open it."
G. — I went down, followed by the others, and opened the door in Elbow
Lane. There was a burnt smell of powder round the place inside. Rifles
and revolvers were presented to us by the men in R.I.C. uniform, and officer.
The officer was tall, of medium build, and wore a dark policeman's cap.
The R.I.C. were all of the new recruit type, with the exception of one, who
attracted my attention from the start. I looked at him sharply, and he
turned his head away. I recognised him as one of the old R.I.C. whom
I had often seen in plain clothes, on detective duty at , and stationed
at Union Quay. ... To the best of my knowledge I saw no rifle or revolver
with him, and I immediately formed the opinion that he was a guide for the
H. — The officer ordered us twenty-five yards away from the door, up
Elbow Lane, and we were halted outside Wood's gate, half way up Elbow
Lane. Two R.I.C, young, with English accents, remained in charge of us,
covering us with revolvers. About three or four petrol tins were on the
ground opposite Sunner's door in Elbow Lane. The lamp was lighting
over our door, and we could see things plainly. I had also put on the
electric light inside. I saw the officer and a R.I.C. man take the petrol
tins and go upstairs in the Arcade. They were there about two minutes,
and were down only about five steps of the stairs — where we were was
directly opposite the door, and with lights on the stairs we could see
everything plainly — when the dining-hall and the top of the staircase went
in flames. The flames came out through the windows.
I. — While the police below were waiting, they put dark masks on,
covering the upper portion of their faces, with openings for the eyes. One
of the women asked one of the two R.I.C. guarding us, " What did the
Arcade do that ye set it on fire ? " He said, " Ye said nothing when our
men were getting shot ; it's our turn now." She asked if we were in any
danger, and he said that the women weren't, but that he didn't know so
much about the men.
J. — When the olficer and the R.I.C. man came down, the officer gave
the order to let us go. We went in the direction of Oliver Plunkett Street.
As we approached Oliver Plunkett Street we noticed a body of men going
up Morgan Street, after coming from the direction of Robert Street. We
took these to be refugees, as they were loaded with cardboard boxes and other
objects. We went up Oliver Plunkett Street towards them, when four or
five revolver shots were fired by them in our direction.
K. — We started to run, and turned up Cook Street to get to the Victoria
Hotel, when a R.I.C. man, issuing from Elbow Lane into Cook Street,
shouted at us to get back. The accent was foreign. We retreated and
went towards Marlboro' Street, where we found refuge.
L. — We were there only about ten minutes when the glass window of
our place of refuge was smashed. We heard the windows of every establish-
ment on our side of Marlboro' Street, including the Y.M.C.A. Hall, being
smashed in like manner.
M. — We saw no more that night, but heard explosions, shots, and
smashing of glass until 7 a.m. Sunday morning. One of the girls told me
that when we were lined up in Elbow Lane it had just struck twelve.
Military on Duty Applaud the Looters: "That's the Stuff to Give Them''
A. — About 9.10 p.m. a crowd of about twenty-two men, dressed as
civilians, passed down Patrick Street from the direction of Patrick's Bridge ;
some were masked, at least two wore white rubber shoes, most had revolvers
in their hands. About 10 to 10 p.m. (by my watch) there was a bomb
explosion near Grant's, whose premises were not visible from where I was.
About 10.15 p.m. I saw flames shooting up from Grant's.
B. — rThen I saw the same men coming back again in twos and threes.
About 10.30 p.m. I heard an explosion near Cash's, and some time later I
saw flames in the lower portion of the premises. I saw men smashing the
shutters and glass of the Munster Arcade. They looted the windows and
put the stuff into big canvas bags ; they went down Cook Street and also
Bowling Green Street with the bags. I then heard some heavy explosions
inside the Munster Arcade and then the fire broke out quickly. While the
Munster Arcade was being ,looted military came along in a lorry, halted, and
shouted to the looters : " That's the stuff to give them ; pour it on." The
military were in highland dress.
C. — I saw, later on, similar or identical men looting Nunan's public-house
in Cook Street. They smashed the glass and brought out drink. Some
while after I heard the voice of a woman shouting : "I live here," and a
voice with a distinctly English accent replying : " Get inside, get inside."
I noticed the curious fact that O'Regan's lit from the top.
D. — About 3.30 a.m. I saw local police clearing away the " Black and
Tans " off the street.
Uniformed Looters at Cash's. Military on Duty Encourage
A. — I remember the night of December 11, 1920, I was staying in the flat
of the city. About 9 p.m. I saw the Auxiliaries hold up pedestrians on
Patrick's Bridge. They used filthy and threatening language to the people
and ordered them away, at the same time firing indiscriminately.
B. — About this time a tram-car came into Patrick Street from the
direction of Bridge Street. The Auxiliaries stopped same and ordered both
driver and conductor away. They broke in the glass of the tram-car and
shortly afterwards set it on fire.
C — I withdrew for a short time after this incident, but, hearing incessant
firing, hammering, crashing of glass, &c, I returned to see how things fared.
I now saw the Auxiliaries near Evans's bookshop. I heard the man hi
charge say : " Break it in, break it in." The order was obeyed, and then
they moved on. About this time a number of civilians came out of a house
near by, and these were fired on, and ran for shelter.
D. I withdrew for a second time, and again returned, my attention
being attracted by the breaking of glass. I saw a number of men, most of
whom were in uniform of varying descriptions, coming out of Cash's carrying
bags, which seemed to be full. They moved quickly away from the shop,
down several of the side streets. After this I heard several explosions,
which appeared to come from Cash's. The whole place burst into flames
and soon was burning fiercely. During the course of the fire some of the
Auxiliaries came on the scene. They were shouting and dancing on the
roadway, and I saw one wearing what appeared to me to be a lady's jumper.
E. — While the fire was on, a lorry of military came from the direction of
Patrick's Bridge. They were apparently the curfew patrol. They yelled as
they passed the burning tram-car, and one of their number shouted, as they
passed Cash's : " That's the stuff to gi"e them."
F. — From this onwards, I heard the continuous din of revolver and rifle-
firing, explosions, the crashing of falling glass, &c, which appeared to be
going on in the neighbourhood.
About 4 a.m., I heard an officer, who was near the corner of Merchant
Street, and avIio seemed to be in charge of a squad of soldiers, say : " Keep
it up, men, and good night."
G. — During the night and early morning, I saw none of the Crown forces
giving any help to combat the conflagration which was going on within my
view. The majority of the Auxiliaries and " Black and Tans " were drunk,
but the soldiers appeared to be sober, and so could have rendered help in
combating the flames.
I, the undersigned, do solemnty swear and affirm that the foregoing
testimony is the truth to the best of my knowledge and ability.
An Officer Leads a Troop of Window Smashers
I remember the night of December 11-12, 1920, I was residing in the
South Mall. About 2 a.m. on Sunday morning I saw a body of about fourteen
to sixteen men, in charge of an officer in uniform, go through movements of
a military nature on the South Mall. They formed into two files, and the
leading man in each file carried what appeared to be an iron bar ; the
remainder carried rifles. They went through Marlboro' Street, and began to
smash windows on both sides of the street. Later, I saw a similar party
resting themselves on the footpaths of the South Mall.
I, the undersigned, do hereby solemnly affirm that the above statement is
the truth, to the best of my knowledge and ability.
Police Loot and Bully
A. — I, A. B., of — Cook Street, Cork, do hereby solemnly and sincerely
declare that on the night of December 11-12, 1920, I saw three men, carrying
rifles, breaking the windows of O'Sullivan's shop (tobacconist), situated at
the corner of Oliver Plunkett Street and Marlboro' Street. Two were dressed
in raincoats and soft hats, and one wore the khaki uniform of the British
B. — Later, about 12.30 a.m., two members of what are called the " old
R.I.C." came from Patrick Street, and one — a sergeant — fired three shots
from his revolver over the heads of the crowd of about twelve people, mostly
women, who had come out of the burning houses. Some time after, the
same two came into my lodgings and ordered out several women, with their
few belongings, to whom my landlady had given shelter, saying they would
be safer on the streets. These men were under the influence of drink.
B. — About 1 a.m., five " Black and Tans " tried to force in the door of
O'Callaghan's public-house, and only desisted when the key was given them
by Miss O'Callaghan, who was on the street at the time. They then went
inside, and subsequently I saw several of these and the military, who came
with the fire brigade, under the influence of drink, so much so that some of
the military were quarrelling and fighting between themselves, and one
actually attacked his officer.
C. — Re the fire at Forrest's. Some time after the bomb explosions ha
ended, and when the streets seemed safe, I went up to Patrick Street to help
in salving some of the goods. When the fire brigade came, a man wearing a
soft hat and frieze overcoat, and brandishing a revolver, ordered the civilians,
who were assisting the brigade, and those who were operating the hose
belonging to the Examiner office, to clear. I noticed that this individual had
the uniform of the R.I.C. under his overcoat. I saw him speaking to a man
in R.I.C. uniform who came on the scene, and who was apparently an officer
of some sort, judging by his dress. All this time he had the revolver in his
hand. Then I saw him fire six rounds, and after a few minutes upwards of
ten men in R.I.C. uniforms, carrying rifles, appeared, some from Cook Street
direction, others coming down Patrick Street. I saw this man fraternising
with them, and then we were ordered away by these people.
Statement of Members of Auxiliary R.i.C, Dunmanway, December 16, 1920
"We did it." "Orgies of Murder, Arson, and Looting"
A. — We came on here from Cork and are billeted in a workhouse — filthily
dirty. Half the company are down with bronchitis. I am at present in
bed . . . recovering from a severe chill contracted on Saturday night last
during the burning and looting of Cork, in all of which I took perforce a
reluctant part. We did it all right. Never mind how much the well-inten-
tioned Hamar Greenwood would excuse us.
B. — In all my life and in all the tales of fiction I have read, I have never
experienced such orgies of murder, arson, and looting as I have witnessed
during the past sixteen days with the R.I.C. Auxiliaries. It baffles descrip-
tion. And we are supposed to be ex-officers and gentlemen. There are
quite a number of decent fellows and likewise a lot of ruffians.
C. — On our arrival here from Cork one of our heroes held up a car with
a priest and a civilian in it and shot them both through the head without
cause or provocation. We were very kindly received by the people ; but the
consequence of this cold-blooded murder is that no one will come within a
mile of us now, and all shops are closed. The brute who did it has been
sodden with drink for some time and has been sent to Cork under arrest
for examination by experts in lunacy. If certified sane, he will be court-
martialled and shot. 1 The poor old priest was sixty-five, and everybody's
D. — The burning and sacking of Cork followed immediately on the
ambush of our men. . . . Twenty men for a raid . . . left the barracks in
two motor cars. . . . The party had not got 100 yards from barracks
when bombs were thrown at them from over a wall. One dropped in a car
and wounded eight men, one of whom has since died.
E. — Very naturally the rest of the company were enraged. The houses
in the vicinity of the ambush were set alight, and from there the various
parties set out on their mission of destruction. Many who witnessed similar
scenes in France and Flanders say that nothing they had experienced was
comparable to the punishment meted out to Cork. I got back to barracks
at 4 a.m. .
F. Reprisals are necessary, and loyal Irishmen agree. But there is a lot
done which should not be done. Of course, it is frequently unavoidable
that the innocent suffer with the guilty. ... --\
G. A General Higginson arrived this morning to have a ' straight talk
to us about discipline, &c, as he put it. I am afraid we struck terror into
him, for the "straight talk" ne ver ma terialised^ He was most amia ble.
i Needless to say this man was found to be " insane " by the court martial.
[Owing to difficulties which will doubtless be readily appreciated, it has
not been possible up to the time of going to press to secure the signature to
this statement. Hence its publication is deferred.]
Police Loot Hilser's in the Grand Parade
(See Map No. 5.)
A. — I remember the night of December 11, 1920. I heard a loud report
of firing just before 10 p.m. I looked out through my window and noticed
a big fire, which I took to be at that portion of Messrs. Grant & Co.'s
premises in Patrick Street. The night was naturally bright, and the fire
illuminated the whole street such that it was easy to discern any object.
The city lamps were also lighting.
B. — Shortly after 10 p.m. I looked out of the window to ascertain the
nature of the firing, and distinctly saw two R.I.C. policemen at the Berwick
Fountain in the middle of the Grand Parade. They were quite unconcerned
about the firing, and made no move whatever. I thought the firing came
from the direction of Patrick Street. I saw the two R.I.C. mentioned above,
now joined by two or three more who came from the direction of Tuckey
Street Police Barracks, run in the direction of Oliver Plunkett (formerly
George's) Street, presumably to get to the scene of the burning. I came
away from the window, and returning to it again after a few minutes I saw
several R.I.C. policemen at the side of the Grand Parade which contains
the back of Grant's premises. One of them, whom I recognised as a
policeman whom I knew, was engaged in knocking at the doors of the house
to awaken the inhabitants. He was warning the people to be in readiness
lest the back of the premises might catch fire. Several left their houses
with various articles in their hands. They were partly dressed, and some
carried beds on their heads.
C. — Just as three people were leaving one of the houses, two soldiers,
accompanied by a man dressed in a dark civilian coat, appeared on the
Parade, having come from the direction of Patrick Street, where the fire was.
I was alarmed by a loud shout from the one in the dark coat. " Get
inside," he said. His accent was strange to me. The three people men-
tioned before seemed to remonstrate, but he again ordered them indoors,
and they obeyed. They were barely indoors when the two soldiers and
the man in civilian attire fired shots through the shutters on the windows
of Messrs. Hilser (jewellers). The shots frightened me, and I drew back
from the window. When I looked out again after about five minutes they
were gone, but Hilser's window shutters were down on the footpath.
D. — About eight or ten minutes afterwards I noticed three " Black and
Tans " armed with rifles, slung over their shoulders, coming from the
direction of either Oliver Plunkett (Old George's) Street or Tuckey Street.
I knew they were " Black and Tans " because they had not the general
appearance of the regular R.I.C. Two of them wore heavy overcoats, and
the third had none. They were young looking. Two doors beyond Hilser's
they stopped and spoke to someone in a hall. They entered, and the door
closed. Two or three minutes afterwards two curfew lorries and an
armoured car came round the Parade corner from Patrick Street, and
proceeded without halting in the direction of the South Mall. About six
or seven minutes afterwards the three " Black and Tans " came out, and
turned round the Parade corner into Patrick Street.
E. — The place was deserted until about 11.30 p.m., much shouting
taking place in the meantime in the direction of the fire, when from twenty-
five to thirty men, walking in a bunch, the majority of them dressed in
trench coats and wearing soft hats, none of them in uniform, came from
Washington Street and proceeded immediately down Oliver Plunkett Street.
They were conversing loudly among themselves, and their accents were
strange. Unconsciously I assumed that they were the incendiary party,
and I exclaimed to myself : " Surely they are the men who are committing
F. — Shortly after I saw about ten or twelve of the same kind of men
cross from Oliver Plunkett Street to the Munster Furnishing Co. in Grand
Parade. They may be portion of the large body that had entered Oliver
Plunkett Street previously, or a new party. There was noise outside the
Munster Furnishing Co. (the proprietor is Mr. Sean Jennings, chairman of
the Cork Poor Law Guardians), and after an interval of a few minutes I
heard at least three bomb explosions — judging from the noise they made.
I also heard the pulling down of shutters and the smashing of glass. I
looked far out of the window, and distinctly saw three of the party come from
Mr. Jennings' shop and go in the direction of Messrs. Singer's at the corner
of the Parade and Washington Street. I drew my head in, as I was afraid
to look any longer. A few minutes afterwards I heard the pulling down
of shutters and the smashing of glass. The noise came from a spot about
midway between Jennings' and Singer's.
All this took place about 12 midnight. The nearness of the incendiaries
compelled me to keep away from the window for some time.
G. — -Between about 12.45 a.m. and 1.15 a.m. I heard the tramp of feet
again, and, going to the window, I saw about a dozen men, half of the
civilian type and half " Black and Tans " (I knew they were " Black and
Tans " as the ordinary old R.I.C. build is easy to distinguish), come round
the corner of the Parade from Patrick Street. They did not move as a
crowd, but followed ill twos and threes silently and noiselessly. This party
halted at Hilser's. About half the number entered, making much noise,
such as the breaking of more glass to give them further room for entering.
I saw two or three flash lamps being moved about inside.
From seven to ten minutes afterwards they came out one after the other,
at intervals of about fifteen to thirty seconds. Each one was well laden,
civilian type and " Black and Tan." About five of them carried large
white bags like a soldier's long kit bag. These were full, and must have
been heavy, as it gave each of them enough to do to carry his own bag.
The few others had dark bags of the same style, and these were also full.
They had *& few portmanteaus, which appeared heavily laden. They went
in the direction of Patrick Street, around the Parade corner.
H. — After an interval of about seven minutes, judging from number,
appearance, &c, the same party of men returned to Hilser's. They were
no sooner inside that the noise of lorries was heard. The majority of the
looters glided singly from Hilser's towards Oliver Plunkett Street. The
two lorries came round the Parade corner from Patrick Street and halted
at the Berwick Fountain. One of the military officers, dressed in khaki,
got out and crossed over to the men who had stopped outside Buckley's
corner of Oliver Plunkett Street. He addressed some one of them, and
returned to his lorry. The two lorries moved off towards the South Mall.
Those men again returned to Hilser's, their confederates who were left behind
in the shop moving their torch-lamps to and fro immediately the lorries left.
After five minutes the party left Hilser's again, laden as before, and
proceeded in the same direction. I did not see this party with rifles, but
they may have had revolvers. During the looting at Hilser's I remarked
to my companion : " They must be looting P. D. Buckley's shop as well."
P. D. Buckley's is next door to Hilser's, and had no shutters.
I. — This action filled me with so much disgust that I retired from the
window and went to bed at about 1.50 a.m. I could not sleep. There was
noise all the time. I heard it several times in Hilser's direction. I lay
awake in bed until about 5.30 a.m. I got up and went to the window on
hearing a parodied version of the Soldier's Song being sung by three drunken
men. I could catch the portion of the refrain, " Ireland never will be free."
I saw the three forms near the Central Boot Stores in the Grand Parade.
All the city lights were now out, and it was dark. They hadn't finished
their singing when the noise of the smashing of glass in Washington Street
was heard. I exclaimed to my companion, " It's O'Sullivan and Howard's."
The three drunken men immediately shouted out in a foreign accent : "It's
all right boys." They, however, proceeded in the direction of Patrick Street,
and I heard no more.
Police and Soldiers Loot Hilser's
A. — I remember the night of December 11, 1920 ; I was staying in a
house in the Grand Parade. At about 9.50 p.m. I heard loud reports like
shots or bombs. Between 10.5 p.m. and 10.10 p.m. I noticed a big fire,
which I concluded was at Grant's premises. Two or three R.I.C. policemen
had been standing by the fountain, smoking. After about twenty minutes,
when the fire was making progress, the three went waking the people living
on that side of the Parade which runs by the back of Grant's premises.
The people were leaving their houses, partly dressed, with bags and other
small things in their hands, when suddenly three soldiers appeared, one of
them wearing a civilian overcoat. This one in the black coat gave a loud
order in a distinct tone of command : " Get inside." He spoke with a
foreign accent. Some of the people ran, but others, not realising what was
happening, remained until, with the giving of the order for the second or
third time, he fired shots from his revolver through Hilser's jeweller's shop.
B. — They then pulled down the shutters and smashed the glass window.
The three then looted a little, being helped by " Black and Tans," who also
appeared on the scene. These latter had rifles strapped over their shoulders.
When curfew lorries appeared on the Grand Parade these looters dodged,
three going inside Miss O'Driscoll's door, which is alongside the Central
Boot Stores. The lorries went away, and the looters again returned to
C. — About 11.30 p.m., from twenty to thirty men, wearing trench coats
and soft hats, came from the direction of Washington Street and crossed the
Parade to Oliver Plunkett Street. They then proceeded to Sean Jennings'
furniture shop (Munster Furnishing Co., owned by Mr. Sean Jennings,
chairman of the Cork Poor Law Guardians). could hear the tearing
down of shutters, the breaking of glass, and loud reports for a considerable
D. — The loot of Hilser's continued through the night at different periods
by police or " Black and Tans." About 1.30 a.m. a party of them broke
every bit of glass in Hilser's, and with the aid of flash-lamps which they
used inside I could see them looting the entire shop. The party consisted
of men in civilian attire, " Black and Tans " or R.I.C, and two soldiers
in khaki who had their rifles strapped on their shoulders. When they were
there about fifteen minutes, right opposite where I was watching, they
produced large kit-bags and several large soft bags ; these they filled with
the loot from Hilser's. At this juncture a lorry appeared, but I do not
know what happened as I was afraid to look out for fear of being seen.
E. — At 5.30 a.m. some of the police or " Black and Tans " appeared
at Hilser's. They were falling drunk, and were singing a parody on the
" Soldier's Song," called " Ireland never will be free." At this time I could
hear t>lass being broken in the direction of Washington Street, near
St. Augustine's Church.
During the whole night that the above was going on, shots and loud reports
could be heard at all times, and fires were lighting up the whole city.
I solemnly affirm and swear that the foregoing testimony is, to the best
of my knowledge and ability, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
the truth, and that same was given by me voluntarily. So help me God.
Police Loot Hilser's
I hereby state that, on the night of December 11-12, I observed a party
consisting of about twelve or thirteen men, some wearing the R.I.C.
uniform, others wearing R.I.C. coats and military caps, approach the
premises of Hilser's, Grand Parade. After a few minutes they proceeded
to remove the shutters by the aid of the rifles which they carried, and next
broke in the windows. All this time, one of the party played the light of
an electric hand torch on the window. By the aid of this light I could
plainly see them remove some of the contents of the window. None of the
party entered the shop.
Buckley's, tobacconists, next door, was then broken into, the shutters
and glass being broken. I did not see them take anything from this shop.
All this occurred between the hours of twelve and one o'clock. Three shots
were fired by this party. Having broken Buckley's they then disappeared.
Attack on Jennings's Shop
(See Map, No. 3. Note the proximity to Tuckey Street Police Barracks.)
I, the undersigned, do make the following statement voluntarily, and
do solemnly declare that it is the truth to the best of my knowledge and
I remember the night of the 11th ; I was in "my home at — Grand Parade,
having supper about 10 p.m. The first thing I heard was some commotion
downstairs. I looked out the window and saw a few policemen in uniform
at the fountain, which is almost directly opposite my house. I came down-
stairs, and saw the light of a fire. I immediately concluded that some
building was on fire, but at the time I was unable to say where the fire was.
Mr. K., who also lives in the house, was at the door, and he said to me that
he believed that it was the Grand Parade Market was on fire. I went
upstairs and helped to dress X. and Y., so as to be ready to leave. I then
came downstairs, and Mr. K. was still at the door, and he told me that he
had been ordered in. So then I went upstairs again, and looked through
the window to see if there was any immediate danger. I next saw a group
of men in civilian dress tearing down the shutters from Mr. Jennings's shop
opposite me. They smashed the windows with the shutters, and threw
two bombs into the shop, and these exploded with a loud noise. Mr. A.
(No. 56) came out and spoke to the crowd, which now included some
uniformed police from Tuckey Street R.I.C. Barracks close by. The crowd
in civilian dress then went off in the direction of the South Mall, and the
uniformed police went back to their barracks in Tuckey Street.
Why the Burning of Jennings's Shop was so Easily Stopped
A. — Attack on 63 Grand Parade (Jennings's furniture shop) on Saturday
night, December 11, 1920. When I saw them first they were in a crowd
of thirty, as far as I could judge. I was looking through the window
upstairs. Then when passing my place, one of them made a remark,
" Come along, lads, here we are." They broke in the place, and in a few
minutes after there was a loud explosion. Some of the attacking party
were in uniform. Shortly after, the lorries came from the direction of the
South Mall and the crowd disappeared.
B. — I came downstairs and saw a friend coming across the street for
shelter. She went back with X., and on coming back to my house they
met an officer, who accompanied them to my house. He asked them what
was the matter. X. told him that she was taking the old lady to a place
of shelter. He took some bedding to her. While crossing the road a shot
was fired at the Market Gate, presumably into the market.
C. — I went out when I saw the officer, and asked were they going to
burn that house (No. 63) ; if they do, I said, " my house and will go."
He replied that he didn't know. A policeman who had come on the scene
remarked that if they did the barrack, which contained a lot of explosives,
would be in danger. The military officer replied, " We must try and
prevent that." The attacking parties did not come back any more.
D. — The looting at Hilser's went on practically all night, the crowd
coming and going all during curfew, disappearing when the lorries appeared.
The parties whom I had taken in remained until seven next morning.
Attempt to Set Fire to Shop, Priory, and Church
Police Looters. "That's for His Young Lady"
(See Map, No. 6 (a), for Murphy Bros, (drapers and tailors), S. Augustine's Priory and
I remember the night of December 11, 1920. I did not go to bed that
night consequent on the happenings near by us in Patrick Street.
A. — About 6 a.m. I heard a noise of the smashing of glass on the street
beneath us. I went to the top rooms of the Priory and, looking out of a
window overlooking Washington Street, I saw by the light of the city
lamp outside the church door what seemed to be a bundle of clothes
on the pavement outside Murphy Bros.' I saw a man dressed in policeman's
uniform, between the clothes and Murphy's window, in a stooping position.
He had something in his hand — some drapery article. Somebody shouted
" robbers ! " from a window on the opposite side, and I drew my head in
and looked no more.
B. — I immediately 'phoned Union Quay Police Barracks for police pro-
tection, telling them that three policemen were looting Murphy Bros.',
Washington Street, and that we feared they would break into our church.
(I mentioned three, as I had heard one of the Community mention that that
number of them were there.) They referred me to the Bridewell, and I got
what I thought was a giggle from them for my pains. They promised to
send assistance. I also 'phoned the fire brigade, and they sent along a man.
Before this man arrived, Bro. M., Fr. R., Dr. M., Fr. O., and myself extin-
guished the fires in Murphy Bros.' with buckets of water. We had received
warning of this fire from Mrs. C. across the street, about a quarter of an hour
after I had come away from the window, as mentioned above. The fire was
extinguished about 6.30 a.m., and I went back to the Priory and had some tea.
C. — Hearing footsteps outside about 7 a.m., I went out, thinking it was
looters. The firemen had departed to call the owners of Murphy Bros.' I
saw two men in police uniforms, with plain tunics without belts, one carrying
a revolver in his hand, outside Murphys'. Thinking they had come from the
Bridewell in answer to my 'phone call, I went over to them and said : " I'm
glad you have come."
One of them asked me for a pencil to take down the name of the shop.
He spoke with a decided English accent. I went back to the Priory and
brought him a pencil, and he noted something in his note-book. I still
stopped there after he had handed me back the pencil, when a third man,
wearing a heavy dark policeman's overcoat and policeman's cap and brown
boots, came out through Murphys' broken window. He was carrying a black
kit-bag, with the sleeve of a pink golf coat hanging out of one side. He
calmly stopped and put the sleeve in. The other two policemen said some-
thing to him, and he proceeded towards Keane's corner, where he met another
policeman. They went down the South Main Street.
As the policeman with the bag was moving away, the policeman that
asked me for the pencil said to me : " That's for his young lady," meaning,
of course, the golf coat and other articles he had. His accent was a Cockney
one. With that, he and his companion placed the shutters loosely against
the hole in the window, said good morning, and left. I then went in to
Mass at 7.30 a.m.
I swear and affirm that the foregoing testimony is, to the best of my
knowledge and ability, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth,
and that the same was given by me voluntarily, so help me God.
Corroboration. An Officer Joins in the Loot.
A. — I remember the night of December 11, 1920. I heard the noise of
explosions and firing throughout the entire night in the direction of Patrick's
Street and Grand Parade, from my house in Washington Street. I heard
bodies of men tramping up and down Washington Street at various periods
in the early hours of Sunday morning, December 12.
B. — At 5.45 a.m. (by my watch), as I was lying in bed, I was awakened
by the crash of glass near by. I got up and went to the window overlooking
Washington Street. I saw six men — three of them dressed in policeman's
heavy overcoats and caps — and an officer in khahi uniform breeches and
ordinary military cap, outside Murphy Bros.', Washington Street. The city
lamp opposite St. Augustine's Church, near by, was lighting. I saw the five
men go through the broken window and enter the shop. The officer remained
outside. He walked down to the corner of Washington Street and the
C. — I saw those inside the shop light something, which continued lighting
for about five minutes and then went out. Two or three of them came out
in the street with overcoats and put them on over their own. I again saw
something lighting inside, which continued for another five or six minutes.
The remainder of them then came out on the street. They threw a lot of
clothes on the street. Loading themselves with a plentiful supply of clothes,
three of them went up Washington Street, and two of them and the officer
went towards the Parade. Two of the first three went up the North Main
Street, and the other the South Main Street. One returned from the Parade
dressed in khaki overcoat, having divested himself of the new overcoat and
the other goods at the Parade. He went in through the window, and I saw
a fire immediately start inside for the third time. He came out, having
some small things in his hand that he took off the fancy counter. He went
towards Grand Parade.
D. — Four women came from the Parade about 6.15 a.m. and took what
clothes had been left behind on the street. They immediately decamped
through the North Main Street.
E. — The fire was assuming larger proportions, and, fearing to go out
myself on account of the shooting going on all round, I called aloud for Fr. O.,
at the Augustinian Presbytery, saying : " Murphy Bros.' is on fire." I told
the person who came to the Priory window to bring down a bucket of water
at once, which they did after a while. They went into Murphy Bros.' and
outed the fire.
After that I retired to bed and saw no more.
Narrow Escape of the Church
I do make the following statement voluntarily, and solemnly affirm on
oath that it is the truth to the best of my knowledge and ability.
I remember the night of December 11. 1920. My premises at 47 Washington
Street, Cork, were checked carefully, shuttered, and locked at 8.45 p.m.
I proceeded homewards.
I received a call from my charge-hand at 8.30 a.m., Sunday, December 12,
who acquainted me that my premises in Washington Street had been broken
into and an attempt made to burn them.
I proceeded to Washington Street, and arrived there at 8.50 a.m. I found
the shutters of my premises taken down, the recess or rest for them hacked
and broken, and one of the large plate-glass windows broken through. A
large quantity of goods were missing from the window and also from fixtures
inside. The floor of the shop was petrolled, and an attempt made to burn
the place by burning woollen scarves, which increase in flame slowly. Part
of the counter got burned before the fire was extinguished. One coat was
partly burned and some small silk hose goods.
K the scarves had been cotton they would be much more inflammable,
and the flames from them would have probably destroyed the premises
before assistance could be obtained. If my premises once got well alight
nothing could have saved the adjoining church and overhead presbytery and
houses near by. The presbytery and church are the property of the
Two Boys Murdered in their Aged Father's Presence
"Are You a Sinn Feiner?" Strong English Accent
I, Daniel Delany, of Dublin Hill, Cork, do solemnly declare and affirm
that the following statement is true to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A. — I remember the morning of December 12 (Sunday). About 2 a.m.
a number of men came to my door and demanded admission in a loud voice,
and beat the door harshly. I opened the door, and they called me out.
The man who seemed to be in command asked if I was a Sinn Feiner. I
answered, " I don't understand you." He then said, " Are you interested
in politics ? " I answered, " I am an old man and not interested in
anything." He then asked, " Who is inside ? " I said, " Nobody but
my family." " Can I see them ? " said he. " Certainly," I said. " They
are in bed." He asked me to show them up.
B. — At least eight men entered the house and went upstairs. A large
number remained outside, as I could hear them moving and see them in
the yard. The men who went upstairs entered my sons' bedroom, and
said, in a harsh voice, " Get up out of that." I was in the room with them.
My sons got up and stood at the bedside. They asked them if their name
was Delany. My sons answered, " Yes." At that moment I heard
distinctly two or more shots, and my two boys fell immediately.
C. — Immediately after, my brother-in-law, William Dunlea, who was
sleeping in the same room in another bed, was fired on by the same party,
and wounded in two places. My brother-in-law is over sixty years of age.
As far as I could see, they wore long overcoats, and spoke with a strong
Murderer "in Soldier's Uniform." "Why Bother About a Priest?"
(The sisters of the murdered Delanys will be called V, X, Y, and Z in these depositions.)
I, V. Delany, of Dublin Hill, Cork, do solemnly declare and affirm that
the following is a true statement to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A. — On the morning of December 12, 1920, at about 2 a.m., I was
awakened by a loud knocking at the door and shouting outside demanding
the door to be opened. My father answered he was coming. He came
downstairs and opened the door leading into the yard. At the same time
another party kept shouting at the front door. . Not hearing my father's
voice, I came to the landing. There were a number of men at the foot of
the stairs. They called on me to procure a light. I got a light and came
down towards them. They rushed up the stairs, and asked me where the
boys slept. I pointed out the door to them. They rushed me into the
room before them. They looked at my uncle (Mr. Dunlea), who slept in the
same room, and seemed surprised. They turned immediately and looked
at the bed where my brothers slept. I distinctly saw a man in soldier's
uniform push his way in front of me, and shouted at my brothers to get up.
They did so, and stood side by side. He asked each his name, pointing a
revolver at each at the same time. The names were hardly uttered when
he fired first at Jeremiah and then at Con, who received two bullets. He
turned to go, pushing me before him.
B. — I was terrified. I came downstairs and shut the door they had
left the house by (front door). I came back to shut the door leading to
the yard, and saw a number of men in long black overcoats, some of them
having their faces disguised by handkerchiefs. I remained waiting for
them to go. They heard walking upstairs, and asked me who was up there.
I answered, " My father and sisters, and the dead boys;" They repeated
the question, and made an attempt to go upstairs. I gave the same
answer, adding " the men you murdered." The man who asked the
question dashed past me, with a revolver in one hand and a torchlight in
the other. He met my sister, Y., on the stairs, and I could hear her
beseeching him not to go up, as the boys were dead.
C. — While this conversation was going on I heard a motor car moving
off, making a great noise. The party mentioned above remained in the
house after this motor leaving for about a quarter of an hour. One of the
party then said, " We had better go now " ; and they left.
D. — While I was in the kitchen my sister asked permission to go for a
priest, and she was refused by this party of men. She asked again, and
was again refused. She then tried to force her way, but was prevented,
one of the men saying, " If the house is all right, why bother about a priest ? "
"In Military Uniform"
I, X. Delany, of Dublin Hill, Cork, do solemnly swear and affirm that
the following statement is true to the best of my knowledge and ability.
I remember the morning of December 12, 1920. My sister Y. called me
at about 2 a.m. I got up and dressed ; then entered my brothers' bedroom
and saw the condition of things there.
I ran down the stairs with the intention of going for the priest. I went
to the kitchen door, but was prevented from leaving the house by men
dressed in long overcoats. I persisted in going out, and one man said to
me, " If the house is all right there is no need for a priest."
I returned to the kitchen, and saw a man rush over to my sister V. with
a revolver in his hand. I looked towards the door, and distinctly saw a
man in military uniform lean forward as if to look into the kitchen.
I wish to corroborate my sister Y.'s statement in general.
I asked my brother Con (now deceased), whilst in hospital, if he knew
who shot him, and he said it was the " Black and Tans."
"Nobody but Dead Men." Foreign Accent. Murderers had a Motor
I, Y. Delany, of Dublin Hill, Cork, do solemnly declare and affirm that
the following statement is true to the best of my knowledge and ability.
A. — I remember the morning of December 12, 1920. At about 2 a.m.
I was awakened by a loud knocking at the door. I arose, and went towards
my brothers' bedroom. I saw a number of men going downstairs, their
backs towards me. I entered my brothers' room, and saw my brother,
Jeremiah, lying on the floor ; he was not then dead, his lips were moving.
My brother Con was lying in the bed in a pool of blood. I ran out and got
the Crucifix. I asked my brother to kiss the Crucifix. He did so, and put
up his hand to keep silent. I then presented the Crucifix to Jeremiah, and
asked him to kiss it. As I did so, he turned his head towards me and I
put the Crucifix to his lips. He died immediately. I left the room to get
bandages. I got some, and left them in the room.
B. — As I was going downstairs to go for a priest and doctor, I met a
man coming towards me with a revolver and torchlight. I asked him where
he was going, or was he going to kill more of us ? I do not know the reply
he made. He tried to push past me. I put my two hands to his chest
and besought him, for God's sake, not to go up as they were all dead. He
persisted in his efforts, and said, " Is there anybody belonging to me up
there," in a foreign accent. My father answered, " Nobody but dead men."
C. — He then left. I followed him to the door. He said something to
a number of men who were downstairs, and they left the house. As I was
crossing the road, just outside the house, going for a nurse, I saw a motor
car on the road, about 150 yards away. The lights of the car were facing
me, in the direction of my father's house. Before I got out of bed I heard
a motor car stopping outside the gate leading to the yard.
D. — I went to the nearest telephone office and rang up the fire station,
and asked to send an ambulance. I got a reply stating that there was no
ambulance available, that there were a number of houses on fire in Patrick
Street, and that the men were afraid to go out as there was considerable
firing in Patrick Street. It was then about 3.30 a.m. We procured a
priest from the Presbytery (North Cathedral) at 4 a.m. He advised me to
telephone again for the ambulance. We did so at 8 p.m., and the Union
ambulance arrived and took my brother Con to the Mercy Hospital. He
died on Saturday, December 18.
"We May Cet £40 or £50 Out of This."
I, Z. Delany, of Dublin Hill, Cork, do solemnly declare and affirm that
the following statement is true.
I wish to corroborate my sister Y.'s statement, with the following
addition. When the man who tried to push his way past my sister
upstairs, and shouted to them, " Anybody belonging to me up there ? "
my father answering them said, " Nobody but dead men." He then
returned, and said to his comrades, " We may get £40 or £50 out of this."
Murderers had a Motor Lorry
I, A. B., of Kilbarry, Co. Cork, do solemnly declare and affirm that the
following is a true statement.
I remember the morning of December 12, 1920. I was awakened by my
wife about 2.10 a.m. ; she told me she heard motor lorries arriving outside
the house and then heard knocking. I distinctly heard a motor lorry. A
few minutes after, Y. and V. Delany called me, and I went for a nurse.
My house is on the side of the road opposite Mr. Delany's. I remained at
Delany's until morning, and saw the two boys who were shot.
A Fraudulent Military Inquiry. Report Censored. Verdict Faked
(This statement is signed by the parties concerned and by several witnesses who were
present at the sitting of the British Labour Commission in Cork. As the full evidence
was laid before the Commission, it is unnecessary to reproduce here all the details.
Mr. Coleman's house is marked 27 on the map.)
James Coleman, licensed vintner and mineral water manufacturer, 13
North Mall, Cork, was murdered at 3.15 a.m. on the morning of November
18, 1920. In the Press of November 19, there was published an official account
from Dublin Castle, which stated that he had been on friendly terms with
the police and had been shot by four civilians. Mrs. Coleman demanded a
public inquiry, especially in view of this deliberate false official report. The
Court of Inquiry opened on November 22. Mrs. Coleman, her representa-
tive, and the Press were present. The court informed them that the inquiry
was public. The court adjourned until November 25. At the adjourned
sitting Mrs. Coleman gave her evidence. She denied that any civilians came
near the house on the occasion. The authorities refused to produce or call
a "Black and Tan" from the neighbouring Shandon Barracks (about
seventy or eighty yards from Mr. Coleman's house), who called on Mrs.
Coleman five minutes after her husband's murder. They also refused to
produce the bullets found in the house, which Mrs. Coleman had handed
to the police. The court also refused to receive the evidence of herself
and the barmaid concerning the visit, six weeks prior to the murder, of a
"Black and Tan" from the neighbouring barracks who had threatened her
husband with a revolver and actually fired a shot in the shop ; Mr. Coleman
had sought protection from General Strickland against this man, but re-
ceived no reply to his appeal.
At the subsequent visit of the British Labour Commission to Cork, Mrs.
Coleman repeated her evidence in detail ; additional evidence was also laid
before the Commissioners. Mrs. Coleman swore that the murderer was a tall
well-built man, wearing a Royal Irish Constabulary cap and a large grey
frieze coat, similiar in build and voice (with a non-Irish accent) to the man
who had threatened her husband ; his cap, coat, and revolver were exactly
like those of the man who called five minutes later, and whom she and the
barmaid identified as a "Black and Tan" stationed at Shandon Barracks ;
she was unable to see the murderer's face for his cap was pulled down and
his coat collar was turned up.
Mrs. Coleman also swore before the Labour Commission that at the con-
clusion of the "public" military inquiry she saw a military officer take the
reporter's copy and make deletions, and that the Press report of the pro-
ceedings was consequently entirely inaccurate and misleading ; in particular
all references to her refutation of the Dublin Castle libel were deleted.
The verdict of the military inquiry was that James Coleman was "mur-
dered by some person or persons unknown."
3 9031 01760761 5
CITY HALL AS IT WAS
THE CITY HALL, CORK.
The photo shows the queue waiting to view the dead body of Terence
MacSwiney which is lying in state. Some of the windows on the right can
be seen to be boarded up, owing to the damage caused by previous attempts
to bomb and hum the building.
, ■ i\\w.:jai7ii£<"Ji-~zxr< i \m hwiwuui >
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i p '* 1983